Senate. Before beginning its two-week recess, the Senate last week confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson as a Supreme Court Justice, passed legislation suspending permanent normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and approved a ban on imports of Russian energy products, including oil, gas, and coal. Jackson will not be sworn in until Justice Stephen Breyer retires at the end of the court’s current term in late June or early July.
Also last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer started the process for a floor vote later this month on the nominations of Lael Brainard to serve as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board and Lisa Cook to serve as a Fed governor. At some point after the votes on Brainard and Cook, the Senate will take up the nominations of Jay Powell to serve as Fed chair and Philip Jefferson to serve as a Fed governor. The Senate will reconvene on April 25.
House. Following Senate passage of the two bills targeted at Russia, the House followed suit and cleared both measures for the President’s signature. While those bills had overwhelming bipartisan support, the vote on a Covid relief bill was pretty much along party lines. H.R. 3807, which passed on a 223-203 vote, would provide $42 billion to help restaurants and $13 billion to help other small businesses hit by the pandemic. Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Ben Cardin (D- Md.) would like to work out differences between his approach and the House bill before the Senate takes up the legislation. The House will reconvene on April 26.
SEC Nominations. President Biden last week announced his candidates to fill two slots at the Securities and Exchange Commission. To fill the Democratic seat of departing commissioner Allison Lee, the President nominated Jaime Lizarraga, a senior advisor to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. For the Republican vacancy, he nominated Mark Uyeda, an SEC attorney who is currently detailed to the Senate Banking Committee.