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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate returns today from its Presidents’ Day recess and will continue to consider nominations. Beyond that, the schedule is uncertain as the Senate waits for House action on appropriations measures. Also unclear is when the Senate will have to consider the articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The House, which approved the articles on Feb. 13 by a vote of 214-213, has not yet transmitted them to the Senate. Once that happens, the impeachment articles will have priority over other Senate business. With lawmakers facing the possibility of a partial government shutdown at the end of the week, House Speaker Mike Johnson may delay triggering Senate impeachment action until after Congress resolves the appropriations impasse.

House. The House will reconvene on Wednesday, when former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) will be sworn in after winning the special election to replace Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.). Adding Suozzi to the ranks means there will be 219 Republicans and 213 Democrats in the House, with three vacancies. On the legislative schedule this week are a number of bills to be considered under suspension of the rules, including a measure to extend authorization for FAA programs until May 10 from the current deadline of March 8. Suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority for passage of legislation, is also expected to be deployed at some point by Speaker Mike Johnson to move appropriations measures. However, there is no clear-cut timeline for action.

Johnson will meet with President Biden on Tuesday, along with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to discuss the impending shutdown. The meeting will no doubt also include a discussion about how the House plans to address emergency supplemental funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Johnson has said the House will not consider the spending package that the Senate approved on Feb. 13 by a vote of 70-29.

FY 2024 Appropriations. Under the most recent continuing resolution, funding is scheduled to expire at midnight on March 1 for programs funded by four appropriations bills – Agriculture/FDA, Military Construction/VA, Energy and Water, and Transportation/HUD – and on March 8 for the remaining eight appropriations bills. While House and Senate appropriators have hammered out basic agreements on the first four measures, there are still sticking points that have yet to be resolved, with very little time for floor consideration before the March 1 deadline. The lack of an agreement has led to talk of Congress passing still another continuing resolution, possibly until March 22, for all 12 appropriations measures.

Committee Action of Note

Tuesday, February 27

  • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee markup to consider nominations, including Julie Su to be Secretary of Labor
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee Hearing: “Understanding the Presence of Microplastics in Water”

Wednesday, February 28

  • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing to receive testimony on evolving workforce dynamics and the challenges for defense acquisition and defense industrial base personnel
  • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Taking a Serious Look at the Retirement Crisis in America: What Can We Do to Expand Defined Benefit Pension Plans for Workers?”
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing to examine the Opportunities and Challenges Associated with Developing Geologic Hydrogen in the United States

Thursday, February 29

  • House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Hearing: “Examining the Risk: The Dangers of EV Fires for First Responders”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation Hearing: “Made in China: Is GSA Complying with Purchasing Restrictions?”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: “Legislative Proposals To Support Patients With Rare Diseases”

Friday, March 1

  • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Hearing: “Modern-Day Voting Discrimination in Alabama”

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