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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations and will await House action on the six pack of FY 2024 appropriations bills.

House. This is “energy week” in the House, with votes planned on a half dozen Republican proposals targeting the Biden Administration’s energy and climate initiatives. The measures include proposals to repeal emission reduction programs and block implementation of onshore oil and gas leasing rules. Lawmakers will also vote on bipartisan legislation that would bar data brokers from selling the personal data of U.S. citizens to foreign adversary countries, including Russia and China, or companies controlled by them.

On Wednesday, Democrats will meet to elect a new Assistant Leader to replace Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who recently stepped down from the post. The winner will not be a surprise as Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) is running unopposed. Neguse is currently the Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) so there will also be an election to choose his successor. Two DPCC co-chairs, Lauren Underwood of Illinois and Veronica Escobar of Texas, are running for the post as is Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan.

By the end of the week, the House is hoping to vote on a package of six appropriations bills for Defense, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, Financial Services and General Government, State and Foreign Operations, and Legislative Branch.

FY 2024 Appropriations. Current funding for programs covered by the six spending bills expires at midnight on Friday, March 22. In an effort to clear the spending package before then, negotiators had hoped to release legislative language on Sunday. However, the White House and Congressional Republicans are still trying to resolve differences over funding for Homeland Security. It now appears that it will be Tuesday at the earliest before the legislation will be unveiled. If House Speaker Mike Johnson sticks to his commitment that members will have 72 hours to review the bill, Friday would then be the earliest the House could vote. When the House does vote, it will be under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority.

Assuming House passage, the measure would then go to the Senate, which is not known for speedy action. Working in favor of accelerated Senate consideration is the March 22 deadline and the fact that the Senate (as well as the House) is scheduled to begin a two-week recess on the 22nd. This could be enough of an incentive for Senators to wrap up consideration by this weekend at the latest. If the Senate does not pass the bill on Friday, observers believe that a partial government shutdown over the weekend would be manageable, as long as the legislation is enacted before next week.

Committee Action of Note

Monday, March 18

  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Field Hearing in Lebanon, Tenn.: “Victims of Regulatory Overreach: How the SEC’s Climate Disclosure Rule Will Harm Americans”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Field Hearing in Denton, Tex.: “Access to Health Care in America: Ensuring Resilient Emergency Medical Care”

Tuesday, March 19

  • House Rules Committee meeting to formulate a rule on pending measures, including:
    • H.R. 1023, to repeal section 134 of the Clean Air Act, relating to the greenhouse gas reduction fund
    • H.R. 1121, “Protecting American Energy Production Act”
    • H.R. 6009, “Restoring American Energy Dominance Act”
    • H.R. 7023, “Nationwide Permitting Improvement Act”
    • H. Con. Res. 86, expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the U.S. economy
    • H. Res. 987, denouncing the harmful, anti-American energy policies of the Biden administration, and for other purposes

Wednesday, March 20

  • Senate Finance Committee Hearing: “The President’s FY 2025 Social Security Administration Budget”
  • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing to receive testimony on the final report of the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Reform Commission
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “Examining PFAS as Hazardous Substances”
  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Recreation at Risk: The Nature of Climate Costs”
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee Hearings to review budget requests for FY 2025:
    • Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Hearing: “Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Energy” with Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Budget Hearing: “FY 2025 Request for the Department of Health and Human Services” with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets Hearing: “SEC Overreach: Examining the Need for Reform”
  • House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Hearing: “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation”
  • House Agriculture Committee Hearing: “The Danger China Poses to American Agriculture”
  • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Hearing: “Assessing Domestic Offshore Energy Reserves and Ensuring U.S. Energy Dominance”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra

Thursday, March 21

  • Senate Finance Committee Hearing: “The President’s FY 2025 Budget” with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to consider nominations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Hearing: “FY 2025 Budget Request for the Department of Agriculture” with Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government Hearing: “President Biden’s FY 2025 Budget Request and Economic Outlook” with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, OMB Director Shalanda Young, and Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jared Bernstein
  • House Budget Committee Hearing: “The President’s FY 2025 Budget Request”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation Hearing: “White House Overreach on AI”
  • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: “Imploring Global Governance: Examining the Dangers of Ceding Authority Over American Financial Regulation”
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing: “Countering China on the World Stage: Empowering American Businesses and Denying Chinese Military Our Technology”
  • House Homeland Security Joint Subcommittees on Border Security & Enforcement and Oversight, Investigations, & Accountability Hearing: “Examining CBP One: Functions, Features, Expansion, and Risks”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: “Evaluating Approaches to Diagnostic Test Regulation and the Impact of the FDA’s Proposed Rule."
  • House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Hearing: "Assessing America’s Vaccine Safety Systems, Part 2."

Friday, March 22

  • House Armed Services Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation Hearing: “The Technology and AI Fight for 21st Century Operations in the Department of Defense”

Political Update

Buck Resignation. Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who is not running for re-election, announced on March 12 that he is resigning on March 22. Buck’s resignation will result in a party breakdown of 218 Republicans, 213 Democrats, and four vacancies. A special election for Buck’s 4th District seat will be held on June 25, the same day as the party primaries to select nominees for the November general election. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who now represents the 3rd District but decided last year to move her residence and run in the 4th District, said March 13 she will not run in the special election. Boebert would have to relinquish her current seat in order to run in the special election. Each party will select its nominee to compete in the special election, with the GOP nominee expected to prevail and be seated for the remainder of Buck’s term.

House Vacancies. In addition to the Colorado special election, there are other elections on the calendar to fill House vacancies:

  • March 19 – Ohio 6. The winner in tomorrow’s Republican special election primary will be expected to succeed GOP Rep. Bill Johnson, who resigned Jan. 21. State Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus, State Senator Michael Rulli, and Rick Tsai, a chiropractor, are the contenders. The special general election will be June 11.
  • March 19 – California 20. Nine candidates are running in the special election to fill the remainder of Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s term. Among the Republican candidates are Assemblyman Vince Fong and county sheriff Mike Boudreaux, who were the top two vote-getters in March’s all-party primary for the full term. If no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote on Tuesday, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, will face each other in a May 21 runoff to fill the seat, which is expected to remain in Republican hands.
  • April 30 – New York 26. In this blue district, Democratic party leaders have selected State Senator Tim Kennedy as their nominee in the special election to fill the term of Democratic Rep Brian Higgins, whose resignation was effective Feb. 2.
  • May 21 – California 20. Runoff date, if necessary, to replace Rep. McCarthy.
  • June 11 – Ohio 6. Special general election to replace Rep. Johnson.
  • June 25 – Colorado 4. Special election to replace Rep. Buck.

Tuesday Primaries. Ohio and Illinois will hold Congressional primary elections tomorrow. One of the most competitive races is the Republican primary for Senate in Ohio, where the winner will face Senator Sherrod Brown (D) in November. The top candidates are businessman Bernie Moreno, who is endorsed by former President Trump, State Senator Matt Dolan, and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who has the backing of Gov. Mike DeWine and former Senator Rob Portman (R).

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