Senate. In addition to nominations, the Senate could consider two legislative proposals. One would direct the Veterans Administration to conduct research on the use of medical cannabis to treat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic pain. The second would be a resolution under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block EPA’s new trucking emission standards. On Thursday, Senators will make the trip to the House chambers for a joint session at 11 a.m. to hear from South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
House. The House plans to be in session Tuesday through Friday and then will recess until May 9. On Friday, members will vote on a CRA resolution that would revoke the Administration’s decision that temporarily suspends the collection of duties on imports of solar cells and modules from four Southeast Asian countries. The resolution is expected to be approved and will then be considered by the Senate, where only a majority is needed for passage. The White House today issued a Statement of Administration Policy pledging a presidential veto if the measure were to pass both chambers. The most-watched vote of the week, though, will be on Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s proposal to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending.
Debt Limit. The debt limit proposal unveiled April 19 by Speaker McCarthy will bypass committee consideration and go straight to the floor, with a vote possible as soon as Wednesday if the leadership is able to secure 218 votes for passage. The legislation would suspend the debt limit through March 31, 2024 or raise it to $32.9 trillion (a $1.5 trillion increase), whichever comes first. Although the measure has not been scored, Republicans estimate that it would lower the deficit by $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
The majority of those savings, some $3.6 trillion, would come from limiting discretionary spending – first by reducing FY 2024 spending to FY 2022 levels (a cut of $130-$140 billion) and then by limiting annual growth to 1%. The GOP proposal would also rescind unspent Covid funds, repeal clean energy tax incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, enact the House-passed energy bill (H.R. 1), and institute new requirements for SNAP and Medicaid beneficiaries.
The deadline for Congressional action to address the debt limit remains unclear, but the Treasury Department is expected to weigh in this week or next with an updated estimate that takes into account April tax receipts. Independent analysts are warning that federal tax receipts have been weaker than expected, leading to an X-date sometime in June. Next month, both the Congressional Budget Office and the Bipartisan Policy Center plan to release their updated X-date projections.
FY 2024 Spending. While the House debt limit bill has no chance of becoming law, its top-line appropriations number can be used to start the appropriations process. With no expectation that a budget resolution will be passed anytime soon, the House plans to use a deeming resolution to set FY 2024 appropriations at the FY 2022 level of $1.47 trillion. The deeming resolution is expected to be included in the rule that will be crafted by the Rules Committee on Tuesday for the debt limit bill.
House approval of the rule will then allow the House Appropriations Committee to begin its drafting process. Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-Tex.) will decide how to divide the $1.47 trillion in total spending among the 12 subcommittees. It is expected that Republicans will choose to increase defense spending, leading to deeper cuts in domestic programs.
Committee Action of Note
Tuesday, April 25
Wednesday, April 26
Thursday, April 27
Friday, April 28
With negotiators working to hammer out a debt ceiling deal that addresses discretionary spending levels, the House Appropriations Committee is moving forward with action this week on four FY 2024 spending bills.Read More
Debt limit talks continue to be the priority for President Biden and Congressional leaders, but timing and the outcome itself remain murky.Read More
Enacting debt ceiling legislation this month will be hard to accomplish given the substantive differences between the two parties as well as the presidential and congressional schedules.Read More