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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations and is expected to take up legislation providing aid to Ukraine and Israel. The fate of the aid bill is up in the air as Republicans have indicated they will block consideration unless the measure includes language to tighten border policies. In a letter today to Congressional leaders, OMB Director Shalanda Young warned that “without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from U.S. military stocks. There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money—and nearly out of time.” On Tuesday at 3 p.m., Senators will receive a classified briefing from Administration officials on Ukraine and Israel.

House. The schedule for the week includes 11 bills under suspension that are expected to be approved with bipartisan support and three bills more likely to have party-line votes. The Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act would prevent EPA from finalizing its proposed rule that would set stringent emission standards for cars and trucks. The DETERRENT Act would impose new disclosure requirements on colleges and universities that receive gifts from or enter into contracts with foreign entities. A Congressional Review Act resolution would block an Education Department rule dealing with repayment of federal student loans.

Outstanding Issues. Once again, neither chamber has any appropriations bills on its schedule this week. With the Senate planning to adjourn for the year on Dec. 15, there may not be enough floor time available to take up any of the nine remaining spending measures, even though they cleared the Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support. And with the House planning to adjourn on Dec. 14, there has been no progress reported on working out the intraparty disputes that have kept Republicans from passing their five remaining bills.

House and Senate negotiators had hoped to unveil a final version of legislation to reauthorize the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week. However, the compromise version has yet to be finalized as some lawmakers are pushing to add cryptocurrency reform legislation to the defense measure.

Still another reauthorization measure – the FAA bill – has been held up in the Senate Commerce Committee over pilot training requirements. Last week, there were reports that Senators were close to working out a deal on the training issue, but there may not be enough time left this year for a bill to pass the Senate and for differences with the House to be worked out. The current authorization for FAA programs expires Dec. 31, so the House is preparing a short-term bill to extend programs through March 8.

Committee Action of Note

Tuesday, December 5

  • Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation” with FBI Director Christopher Wray
  • Senate Finance Committee Hearing: “Drug Shortages: Examining Supply Challenges, Impacts and Policy Solutions from a Federal Health Program Perspective”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Hearing: “Leading a New Era of Energy Dominance, Security, and Environmental Stewardship”
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee markup of energy and healthcare legislation
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion Hearing: “Fostering Financial Innovation: How Agencies Can Leverage Technology to Shape the Future of Financial Services”
  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Management and Technology Hearing: “Protecting Our Preparedness: Assessing the Impact of the Border Crisis on Emergency Management”
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Hearing: “Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Reauthorization”

Wednesday, December 6

  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “IIJA Investment in Habitat and Ecosystem Restoration, Pollinators, and Wildlife Crossing”
  • Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to receive testimony on the status of Department of Defense recruiting efforts and plans for fiscal year 2024
  • Senate Banking Committee Hearing: “Annual Oversight of Wall Street Firms”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation Hearing: “White House Policy on AI”
  • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Hearing: “Tax Policies to Expand Economic Growth and Increase Prosperity for American Families”
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee continued markup of energy and healthcare legislation

Thursday, December 7

  • Senate Foreign Relations Committee nominations hearing for The Honorable Kurt Campbell to be the Deputy Secretary of State

Political Update

New York Special Election. Following Friday’s vote in the House to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) must call for a special election within 10 days of the vacancy. The special election will be held between 70 and 80 days after the Governor makes an announcement, setting up an election day sometime in February. There will not be a primary; rather, local party leaders will choose their nominees. An announcement of the Democratic nominee could come as soon as Tuesday, with former Rep. Tom Suozzi expected to get the nod. Suozzi chose to run in the Democratic primary for governor in 2022 instead of defending his House seat. Republicans are looking at a number of candidates and could make an announcement by the end of the week.

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