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Legislative Update

House. House Republicans are in Orlando for their policy retreat, which started Sunday and wraps up Tuesday. The House will reconvene Wednesday, with votes after 6:30 p.m. on various bills considered under suspension. On Thursday, the House is scheduled to begin consideration of a “Parents Bill of Rights” bill that would require school districts to publicly post their curriculum, provide parents a list of books available in the school library, ensure parents’ consent before any medical exam takes place at the school, and require parental consent before allowing a student to use a different name or pronouns on school forms or use a different bathroom or locker room. A vote on final passage is expected Friday.

Also on the schedule could be a veto override vote. By simple majority votes under procedures established by the Congressional Review Act, the House and Senate passed a resolution disapproving a Labor Department rule that allows retirement plan managers to consider environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investment criteria as long as they are in the best financial interest of plan participants. Today President Biden vetoed the resolution. A House veto override vote will fall short of the two-thirds needed. The Feb. 28 vote on passage of the resolution was 216-204.

Senate. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) joins the list of those who will not be present for votes this week, tweeting Sunday that he has tested positive for Covid. The absence of Durbin as well as Democratic Senators John Fetterman (Pa.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) as well as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) for medical reasons is not expected to affect the outcomes of any votes this week. As usual, the Senate will continue to consider nominations.

The Senate is expected to take a final vote on a measure that will repeal the authorization for U.S. military action in Iraq. The timing remains uncertain for a vote on the House-passed resolution to disapprove a Biden Administration rule on Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), but it is expected sometime this month.

Hill Hearings. Administration officials will be busy this week testifying on the President’s budget and responding to everything else that lawmakers want to question them on. On Wednesday, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra will testify in the morning at the Senate Finance Committee and in the afternoon at the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor HHS. Also on Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hear from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen while OMB Director Shalanda Young will be at the House Budget Committee. Both Yellen and Young are scheduled to testify on Thursday at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. House Appropriations panels on Thursday will also hold hearings with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

SVB. The House Financial Services Committee has announced that it will hold a hearing March 29 to hear from federal regulators about the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

CBO. The Congressional Budget Office last week released two reports of interest. In its March 14 report, CBO examined two budgetary paths that would eliminate the deficit through reductions in spending. The analysis, which was requested by Senate Budget Chairman Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), concluded that balancing the budget in 10 years without raising taxes while not cutting spending on Social Security, Medicare, and discretionary defense programs would require an 86% reduction in spending on all other programs.

In a March 17 letter to Senator Whitehouse, CBO said it had overestimated projections for federal health care spending between 2010 and 2020, and that costs are likely to remain lower than expected for at least another decade.

Committee Action of Note

  • Wednesday, March 22
    • Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearings to examine proposed FY 2024 budget estimates and justifications for the Department of State, the Forest Service, the Department of the Treasury, and the Library of Congress and the Architect of the Capitol
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on the recruiting challenges facing the United States military
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Hearing: “Taxpayers Paid Billions For It: So Why Would Moderna Consider Quadrupling the Price of the COVID Vaccine?”
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Budget”
    • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing: “Drug Shortage Health and National Security Risks: Underlying Causes and Needed Reforms”
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing: “The President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Health and Human Services Budget”
    • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Risky Business: How Climate Change Is Changing Insurance Markets”
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing to examine Department of Defense small business tools for enhancing the industrial base
    • Senate Commerce Committee executive session to consider the nomination of Phillip A. Washington to be FAA Administrator; markup of legislation, including the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act (S. 127); hearing on “Improving Rail Safety in Response to the East Palestine Derailment”
  • Thursday, March 23
    • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing: To receive testimony on the posture of United States Northern Command and United States Southern Command in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY 2024 and the Future Years Defense Program
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: “To examine Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities to the United States' Energy Infrastructure”
    • Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for FY 2024 for the Department of Transportation
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing: “The President’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda”
    • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearing: “Enhancing Consumer Protections and Connectivity in Air Transportation”
    • House Appropriations subcommittee Budget Hearings on various departments and agencies, including Defense, Energy, State, Treasury, and OMB
    • House Administration Committee Hearing: “FY 2024 Request for the Department of Energy”
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Hearing: “FY 2024 Budget Request for Federal Maritime Transportation Programs, and Implementation of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022”
    • House Science, Space and Technology Hearing: “Unleashing American Power: The Development of Next Generation Energy Infrastructure”
    • House Homeland Security Hearing: “Securing America’s Maritime Border: Challenges and Solutions for U.S. National Security”
    • House Oversight and Accountability Hearing: “Unpacking the White House National Cybersecurity Strategy”
    • House Armed Services Committee Hearing: “Science, Technology, and Innovation at the Department of Defense”
    • House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party Hearing: "The Chinese Communist Party's Ongoing Uyghur Genocide"
  • Friday, March 24
    • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing: “The Biden Administration’s 2023 Trade Policy Agenda with United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai”

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