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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate this week will vote to confirm Cabinet nominees.

House. The House will convene Tuesday and consider various bills as lawmakers wait for the reconciliation bill to be brought to the floor on Friday or Saturday.

Nominations Scorecard. The Senate thus far has confirmed President Biden’s nominees to serve as secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. This week, the Senate will take votes to confirm four more nominees – Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be U.N. Ambassador, Tom Vilsack to head the Agriculture Department, Jennifer Granholm as Energy Secretary, and Miguel Cardona as Education Secretary.

Upcoming hearings include two for Xavier Becerra to be HHS Secretary – on Feb. 23 in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and on Feb. 24 in the Finance Committee. On Feb. 25, the Finance Committee will review the nomination of Katherine Tai to be U.S. Trade Representative. Also on the agenda are hearings in the Judiciary Committee today and tomorrow for Merrick Garland to be Attorney General and in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee tomorrow for Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) to be Interior Secretary.

Covid Relief Reconciliation Bill. The House’s reconciliation bill moved a step closer to floor consideration today with approval by the Budget Committee, which packaged the various committee proposals into a single bill. The next step is the Rules Committee, and the question of the day is whether that panel will need to craft a rule that addresses a math problem. If the Congressional Budget Office determines that the House measure exceeds the $1.9 trillion cost allowed by the budget resolution, then changes will have to be made. This could take place before the final House vote through modifications approved by the Rules Committee or before the Senate takes up the House-passed measure through a substitute offered by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

There are reports that the Senate parliamentarian could weigh in as early as tomorrow on the question of whether a proposal to increase the minimum wage meets the requirements to be included in a reconciliation bill. The provision in the House bill to phase in an increase to $15 an hour by 2025 has a price tag of $54 billion over 10 years.

Committee Action of Note:

  • Monday, February 22:
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Merrick Garland to be Attorney General.
    • House Budget Committee markup of reconciliation legislation.
  • Tuesday, February 23:
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Deb Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior.
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing: Oversight of the Internal Revenue Service.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing with Fed Chairman Jay Powell to examine the Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress.
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Merrick Garland to be Attorney General.
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Adewale Adeyemo to be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing: “Pathway to Protection: Expanding Availability of COVID-19 Vaccines.”
    • House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems hearing: Innovation Opportunities and Vision for the Science and Technology Enterprise.
  • Wednesday, February 24:
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be HHS Secretary.
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense hearing: Future Defense Spending.
    • House Homeland Security Committee hearing: Confronting the Coronavirus: Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic One Year Later.
    • House Financial Services Committee hearing with Fed Chairman Jay Powell on “Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy.”
    • House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations hearing: “Perspectives from Main Street: Raising the Wage.”
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing: Ready or Not: U.S. Public Health Infrastructure.
    • House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing: “Legislative Proposals to Put the Postal Service on Sustainable Financial Footing.”
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing to examine investing in transportation while addressing climate change, improving equity, and fostering economic growth and innovation.
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit hearing: “Examining Equity in Transportation Safety Enforcement.”
    • Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee meeting to consider the nomination of Isabella Guzman to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
    • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing: How Invidious Discrimination Works and Hurts: An Examination of Lending Discrimination and Its Long-term Economic Impacts on Borrowers of Color.
  • Thursday, February 25:
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing to examine the coronavirus crisis, focusing on next steps for rebuilding Main Street.
    • Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to examine Department of Defense support to the COVID-19 response.
    • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing: Building Back the U.S. Research Enterprise: COVID Impacts and Recovery.
    • House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy hearing: Dollars against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection.
    • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law hearing: Reviving Competition, Part 1: Proposals to Address Gatekeeper Power and Lower Barriers to Entry Online.
    • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee business meeting to consider subcommittee assignments.
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Katherine Tai to be U.S. Trade Representative.
    • Senate Budget Committee hearing to examine poverty wages at large profitable corporations.
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies hearing: Strategies for Energy and Climate Innovation.
    • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets hearing: The Challenge of Our Time: Climate Change, the Capital Markets, and Sustainable Investment.
  • Friday, February 26:
    • House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing: “Weathering the Storm: The Role of Private Tech in the SolarWinds Breach and Ongoing Campaign.”

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