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Legislative Update

House. It’s rare that major legislation has enough bipartisan support that it can be considered under suspension of the House rules, requiring support of two-thirds of the Members voting. However, on Tuesday, the House will suspend the rules and pass legislation known as SECURE 2.0 to help Americans save for retirement. Also on the suspension calendar is a Senate-passed bill that the House will likely approve tonight authorizing statues in the Capitol of former Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Later in the week, the House will vote on the MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act), which would legalize marijuana.

Senate. Tonight the Senate plans to complete the process that will allow lawmakers to formally convene a conference committee to work out differences between the Senate’s USICA bill and the House’s COMPETES Act. The Senate will take up the House bill, replace its language with the USICA bill, pass the amended bill, and send it back to the House. The Senate and House can then appoint conferees on the legislation that is designed to strengthen U.S. competitiveness with China and provide $52 billion in funding for production of semiconductor chips.

Last week, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) threw up a roadblock to quick Senate passage of a House bill that would suspend permanent normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus. An agreement has yet to be reached with Senator Paul and no decision has been made on whether the trade relations bill will be considered in tandem with a House-passed bill banning Russian energy imports.

President’s Budget. President Biden today released his budget proposal for FY 2023. In addition to the many documents describing the budget’s spending proposals, the Administration also released the Treasury Department’s “Green Book,” which provides details on the tax and revenue proposals.

Supreme Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee met today to take up the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. However, Republicans requested that the vote be delayed by one week, until April 4. If Judge Jackson’s confirmation is reported out of the committee at that time, Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) envisions a final floor vote on confirmation before the Senate begins a two-week recess on April 8.

Capitol Tours. Tours of the Capitol resumed today, albeit on a limited basis for Member-led, staff-led and school group tours. Each office is limited to one staff-led tour each week, with a maximum of 15 visitors per Member or staffer. Groups will access the Capitol through the Longworth House Office Building, and the Longworth cafeteria will be open for the use of escorted groups. The Capitol Visitor Center is tentatively set to reopen to limited numbers of visitors on May 30.

Committee Action of Note:

  • Monday, March 28:
    • Senate Judiciary Committee Business Meeting to consider judicial nominations, including the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, among others.
    • House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Business Meeting on a Report Recommending that the House of Representatives Cite Peter Navarro and Daniel Scavino, Jr., for Criminal Contempt of Congress.
  • Tuesday, March 29:
    • House Oversight and Reform Committee Hearing: Examining Pathways to Universal Health Coverage.
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Hearing: Examining Workforce Development and Job Creation in Surface Transportation Construction.
    • House Budget Committee Hearing: The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget.
    • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Devalued, Denied, and Disrespected: How Home Appraisal Bias and Discrimination Are Hurting Homeowners and Communities of Color.
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing to examine improving retirement and enhancing savings.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing to examine the economic impact of the growing burden of medical debt.
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Hearing: Trusting the Tap: Upgrading America’s Drinking Water Infrastructure.
  • Wednesday, March 30:
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: FDA User Fee Reauthorization: Ensuring Safe and Effective Medical Devices.
    • House Oversight and Reform Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Hearing: Moving Beyond the Coronavirus Crisis: The Biden Administration’s Progress in Combating the Pandemic and Plan for the Next Phase.
    • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Artificial Intelligence Task Force: Keeping Up with the Codes – Using AI for Effective RegTech.
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing to examine behavioral health care when Americans need it, focusing on ensuring parity and care integration.
    • Senate Budget Committee Hearing to examine the President's proposed budget request for fiscal year 2023.
    • House Rules Committee Meeting: H.R. 3617—MORE Act; H.R. 6833—Affordable Insulin Now Act.
    • Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Hearing to examine the supply chain crisis and the implications for small businesses.
    • House Homeland Security Committee Hearing: Mobilizing our Cyber Defenses: Securing Critical Infrastructure Against Russian Cyber Threats.
    • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets Hearing: Oversight of America's Stock Exchanges: Examining Their Role in Our Economy.
    • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on the Administration’s 2022 trade policy agenda.
  • Thursday, March 31:
    • House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Hearing: The New Normal: Preparing for and Adapting to the Next Phase of COVID-19.
    • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Hearing: Benefits of the Legacy Pollution Clean-Up Programs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Hearing: FY 2023 HHS Budget Request.
    • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Hearing: Examining Civil Rights Litigation Reform, Part 1: Qualified Immunity.
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges facing domestic critical mineral mining, processing, refining, and reprocessing.
    • Senate Special Committee on Aging Committee Hearing to examine preventing tragedies and promoting safe, accessible, and affordable homes.
    • Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues Hearing to examine China's role in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Hearing: Military Privatized Family Housing Oversight.
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing: Connecting America: Oversight of the FCC.
    • Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the President’s 2022 trade policy agenda.
  • Friday, April 1:
    • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Hearing: America’s Natural Solutions: The Climate Benefits of Investing in Healthy Ecosystems.

Political Update

House Vacancies. As of March 31, the party breakdown in the House will be 222 Democrats and 209 Republicans, with four vacant seats, all previously held by Republicans. On March 26, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) said he would resign March 31, following his conviction for lying to federal authorities. The Nebraska governor will set the date for a special election, which is expected to be in the last week of June.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, the governor has set June 11 as the special primary and Aug. 16 as the special election to determine a successor to Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who passed away on March 18. In Minnesota, there will be a special primary on May 24 and a special election on Aug. 9 to fill the seat of Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.), who died on Feb. 17. In California, all candidates to replace Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) are on the same ballot in the April 5 primary. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two finishers will compete in a runoff on June 7. Rep. Nunes resigned January 1. Still another special election will be needed to replace Democratic Rep. Filemon Vela of Texas. Vela will reportedly resign in the coming weeks to take a job with a Washington law firm.

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