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Legislative Update

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

  • House Rules Committee consideration of solar tariff CRA and debt limit legislation

Wednesday, April 26

  • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Markup to consider the nomination of Julie Su to be Secretary of Labor
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “Opportunities to Improve Project Reviews for a Cleaner and Stronger Economy”
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing: “The Assault on Reproductive Rights in a Post-Dobbs America”
  • Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: “Building Consensus to Address Housing Challenges”
  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Under the Weather: Diagnosing the Health Costs of Climate Change”
  • Senate Appropriations Committee Budget Hearing: “FY 2024 Request for the Department of Commerce”
  • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management Hearing: “Examining the Effects of Increased Migration on Communities Along the Southern Border”
  • Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Hearing: “Oversight of SBA’s Implementation of Final Rules to Expand Access to Capital”
  • House Appropriations Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Subcommittee Budget Hearing: “FY 2024 Request for the Federal Aviation Administration”
  • House Judiciary Committee Hearing: “Oversight of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Hearing: “The Government Accountability Office’s 2023 High Risk List”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing: “Social Security Fundamentals: A Fact-Based Foundation”
  • House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Hearing: “Lowering Unaffordable Costs: Legislative Solutions to Increase Transparency and Competition in Health Care”
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Hearing: “Oversight Hearing – Provider Relief Fund and Healthcare Workforce Shortages”
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Risk Management, and Credit Hearing: “Producer Perspectives on the 2023 Farm Bill”
  • House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Health, Employment Labor and Pensions Subcommittee Hearing: “Reducing Health Care Costs for Working Americans and their Families”
  • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands Hearing: “Examining the President’s FY 2024 Budget Request for the U.S. Forest Service”
  • House Energy Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials Hearing: “Exposing the Environmental, Human Rights, and National Security Risks of the Biden Administration’s Rush to Green Policies”
  • House Armed Services Committee Hearing: “U.S. Military Posture and National Security Challenges in Europe”
  • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight Hearing: “Tax-Exempt Hospitals and the Community Benefit Standard”
  • House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Hearing: “FY 2024 Army Modernization Programs”
  • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement Hearing: “The Biden Border Crisis: Exploitation of Unaccompanied Alien Children”

Thursday, April 27

  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “Impacts of Plastic Production and Disposal on Environmental Justice Communities”
  • Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: “Oversight of the Credit Reporting Agencies”
  • House Armed Services Committee Hearing: “Department of the Air Force FY 2024 Budget Request”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing: “Accountability and Transparency at the Internal Revenue Service with IRS Commissioner Werfel”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Hearing: “The Future of Digital Assets: Identifying the Regulatory Gaps in Digital Asset Market Structure”
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development Hearing: “The Future of Digital Assets: Identifying Regulatory Gaps in Spot Market Regulation”

Friday, April 28

  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Hearing: “The Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program: FEMA's Perspective”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: “Antimicrobial Resistance: Examining an Emerging Public Health Threat”

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