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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations.

On Dec. 1, Senate Democrats met to consider changes to their internal party rules. By secret ballot, they defeated a proposal by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that would have prevented senior Democratic leaders from also chairing A-list committees, beginning in 2025. The proposal would have required three members of the Democratic leadership – Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin, Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow, and Rules Chair Amy Klobuchar – to choose between their chairmanships or their leadership positions.

House. Two major pieces of legislation are on the agenda this week for House votes – the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Respect for Marriage Act. The NDAA measure is the product of negotiations between the House and Senate but was not the subject of formal conference committee negotiations. To facilitate consideration in both chambers, the bill will be added as a Senate amendment to H.R. 7776, the House version of the Water Resources Development Act. Both chambers have approved versions of WRDA. The Respect for Marriage Act, which would protect same-sex and interracial marriages, was approved 61-36 by the Senate on Nov. 29 and will be sent to the President after House passage.

On Wednesday, the House schedule could be affected as many Democrats are expected to attend the funeral in Richmond of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.).

The House schedule for 2023 has been released and can be found here. The House Republican Conference has decided to allow members to continue the use of earmarks in appropriations bill. The vote on Nov. 30 was 52-158 against an amendment to end the earmark process.

Committee Action of Note

Tuesday, Dec. 6

  • Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Hearing: “Farm Bill 2023: Research Programs”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion Hearing: “Unfinished Business: A Review of Progress Made and Plan to Achieve Full Economic Inclusion for Every American”
  • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Hearing: “Solving the Climate Crisis: Key Accomplishments, Additional Opportunities, and the Need for Continued Action”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Hearing “E, S, G and W: Examining Private Sector Disclosure of Workforce Management, Investment, and Diversity Data”

Wednesday, Dec. 7

  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Hearing: “U.S. Coast Guard’s Leadership on Arctic Safety, Security, and Environmental Responsibility”

Political Update

Georgia Runoff. Georgia has set new records for early voting, with more than 1.8 million votes already cast for the Dec. 6 runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. The outcome is expected to be close. CNN polling released Friday showed the race at 52% for Warnock to 48% for Walker. In three other recent polls, Warnock’s lead is between 3 and 5 points.

2024 Democratic Primaries. Democrats are on a path to re-order the presidential primary schedule for 2024. The rules panel of the Democratic National Committee voted Dec. 2 to recommend a schedule that makes South Carolina the first presidential primary on Feb. 3, followed three days later by Nevada and New Hampshire. Georgia would be next on Feb. 13 and then Michigan on Feb. 27. The recommendations by the rules panel must be affirmed by the full DNC at a meeting in early February.

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