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Legislative Update

Senate. Members of the Senate and House will gather in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium on Wednesday to hear a virtual address at 9 a.m. EDT by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. As for the floor schedule, Senators will continue to consider nominations, including approval of Shalanda Young to head the Office of Management and Budget.

Last Thursday, the Senate was able to reach a time agreement on consideration of the House-passed FY 2022 omnibus appropriations bill and approve it, 68-31, before adjourning for the week. Both chambers also approved a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through Tuesday, March 15, giving staff more time to prepare the omnibus for the President’s signature. With FY 2022 spending now finalized, the President is expected to release his FY 2023 budget proposal next week.

House. It’s not on the schedule, but the House this week could take up legislation to revoke permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia. Congressional action was postponed last week at the request of President Biden, who then announced on Friday that the U.S. had developed a coordinated plan with other countries to revoke Russia’s most-favored nation trade status.

There is also the possibility that the House could vote on a measure to provide $15.6 billion in additional funding to address the pandemic. The funds were originally included in the omnibus bill but were dropped due to controversy over about half of the proposed offsets. The measure proposed to claw back $7 billion in previously approved, but not yet spent, pandemic assistance to state and local governments. After a handful of Democrats and governors from both parties voiced their opposition, House leaders dropped the entire section from the omnibus.

The revised version that the House could consider this week would only be partially paid for, by using the $8.6 billion in offsets included in last week’s bill that repurpose unspent pandemic funds from sources other than state and local governments. Unless the measure is fully offset, it is not expected to garner 60 votes in the Senate, so it is unclear whether the House will actually hold a vote this week. The House will be in recess next week.

January 6 Committee Hearings. According to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6th attack, the panel is looking to finish depositions with witnesses by the beginning of April, followed by public hearings later that month. An interim report could be issued in June. The timeline could be delayed if investigators uncover new information.

Committee Action of Note:

  • Tuesday, March 15:
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Business Meeting to consider S.3799, to prepare for, and respond to, existing viruses, emerging new threats, and pandemics, and other pending calendar business.
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing to examine the promise and challenge of strategic trade engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety Hearing to examine removing barriers to legal migration to strengthen our communities and economy.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing to examine advancing public transportation under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
  • Wednesday, March 16:
    • House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment Hearing: Fighting Fire with Fire: Evaluating the Role of Forest Management in Reducing Catastrophic Wildfires.
    • House Agriculture Committee: A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: The Role of USDA Programs in Addressing Climate Change.
    • House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Energy Hearing: Bioenergy Research and Development for the Fuels and Chemicals of Tomorrow.
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Oversight Hearing to examine the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund formula.
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing to examine prescription drug price inflation, focusing on the urgent need to lower drug prices in Medicare.
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing: 5G and Beyond: Exploring the Next Wireless Frontier.
    • House Committee on House Administration Hearing: Examining Stock Trading Reforms for Congress.
    • House Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Hearing: Moving Beyond the Coronavirus Crisis: Perspectives from Public Health Experts.
    • Joint Economic Committee Hearing to examine the impact of shareholder primacy, focusing on what it means to put stock prices first.
  • Thursday, March 17:
    • Senate Special Committee on Aging Hearing to examine building financial inclusion for America's underserved populations.
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation Hearing: Aviation Noise: Measuring Progress in Addressing Community Concerns.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing to examine the role of digital assets in illicit finance.
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: The Future of Medicine: Legislation to Encourage Innovation and Improve Oversight.
    • House Financial Services Committee business meeting to mark up pending legislation.

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