Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations. A small group of Senators, including Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), has been working over the holiday break on a proposal to revise U.S. immigration and border policy, with the goal of attaching the policy changes to a supplemental appropriations bill for Ukraine and Israel. Senator Lankford said he’s hopeful a deal can be unveiled this week, and Senate Republicans are reportedly planning to meet Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issue.
House. On Jan. 6, Speaker Mike Johnson invited President Biden to deliver his State of the Union address on March 7, and the President accepted. The House will begin legislative business on Wednesday, including a vote on a Congressional Review Act resolution dealing with domestic sourcing requirements for electric vehicle chargers. The resolution would strike a waiver that the Administration granted from Buy America requirements for EV charger materials. The resolution, which was approved by the Senate 50-48 in November, is expected to be vetoed if it clears the House.
FY 2024 Spending. The top-line spending agreement for FY 2024 that was announced Sunday night is a major breakthrough toward enacting appropriations bills, but many lawmakers are skeptical that the spending measures can be enacted before the upcoming Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 deadlines. Even though Speaker Johnson has vowed that the House will not pass any more short-term continuing resolutions, it may be that more CRs, possibly through March 1, are needed to keep the government open.
The Jan. 7 agreement largely adheres to the numbers that were part of the debt limit agreement from May, with a top-line number of $1.59 trillion that includes $886 billion for defense. The parties differ, though, on their portrayals of the spending for non-defense programs. Republicans point to a non-defense number of $704 billion; Democrats say they secured $773 billion for non-defense, which includes an additional $69 billion, the same amount that was included in a side agreement to the debt limit deal.
House and Senate appropriators must now apportion the top-line spending amounts among the 12 individual appropriations bills, craft legislation that comports to those numbers, and see if their legislative efforts will pass both chambers. First on the agenda are the four appropriations bills that have a Jan. 19 deadline – Agriculture/FDA, Military Construction/VA, Energy and Water, and Transportation/HUD. Members of the House Freedom Caucus have already announced their opposition to the top-line number, so passing appropriations bills with only Republican votes does not appear to be an option. Consequently, the measures are likely to be cleared in the House under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority.
The current party breakdown in the House is 220 Rs/213Ds with two vacancies (Republican Reps. Kevin McCarthy and George Santos). House Majority Leader Steve Scalise is undergoing a stem cell transplant and will be absent from the House until sometime in February. Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) will resign his seat on Jan. 21.
Committee Action of Note
Wednesday, January 10
Thursday, January 11
House Special Elections