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Legislative Update

Congress. The Senate is the only chamber conducting business this week and at the end of the week will join the House in recess until Feb. 27. On Wednesday, Defense Department officials will provide Senators with a classified briefing that will focus on how the U.S. military stacks up against China and the latest on the surveillance balloon. The briefing will also cover the unidentified objects shot down more recently.

At the committee level, there is a full range of hearings scheduled. The Senate Commerce Committee will be particularly busy, starting with a Tuesday hearing on the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission. Over the following two days the panel will not only examine what happened when the nation’s air traffic system shut down in January but will then shift gears and look at the role pharmacy benefit managers play in drug pricing. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will focus on workforce shortages in the health care industry, and the Agriculture Committee will continue its hearings on the 2023 farm bill with an examination of nutrition programs. The Senate Banking Committee will hear testimony on the crypto crash and the potential risks to the broader financial system.

CBO Projections. On Feb. 15, the Congressional Budget Office will release two reports of interest – The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2023 to 2033 and the latest version of Federal Debt and the Statutory Limit, describing the current debt situation and CBO’s expectation about when the Treasury will no longer be able to pay its obligations fully if the debt limit is not raised.

Committee Action of Note

  • Tuesday, February 14
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: “Crypto Crash: Why Financial System Safeguards are Needed for Digital Assets”
    • Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: “Protecting Our Children Online”
    • Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Hearing to consider the nomination of Gigi B. Sohn to the Federal Communications Commission
  • Wednesday, February 15
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing: “To receive testimony on global security challenges and strategy”
    • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Climate-Related Economic Risks and Their Costs to the Federal Budget and the Global Economy”
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “The Future of Low Carbon Transportation Fuels and Considerations for a National Clean Fuels Program”
    • Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Hearing: “The Federal Aviation Administration’s NOTAM System Failure and its Impacts on a Resilient National Airspace”
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the nomination of Daniel I. Werfel to be IRS Commissioner
    • Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing: “Countering Illicit Fentanyl Trafficking”
  • Thursday, February 16
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: “One Year Later: The Impact of the Russian Federation’s War in Ukraine on European and Global Energy Security”
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Examining Health Care Workforce Shortages: Where Do We Go From Here?”
    • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Hearing: “Bringing Transparency and Accountability to Pharmacy Benefit Managers”
    • Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee Hearing: “Farm Bill 2023: Nutrition Programs”

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