Senate. The Senate is beginning its week with nominations, voting today and tomorrow to end debate on the nominations, respectively, of Lael Brainard to serve as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and Lisa Cook to serve as a Fed governor. Assuming Brainard and Cook clear the cloture votes, the Senate later this week could approve both nominations as well as those of Jay Powell to serve another term as Fed Chair and Philip Jefferson to serve as a governor. The Senate also plans to take votes to confirm Alvaro Bedoya to serve on the Federal Trade Commission, with the expectation that Vice President Harris will break 50-50 ties. Bedoya’s confirmation would give Democrats a 3-2 majority on the Commission.
Earlier this month, Senate leaders unofficially named 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans to serve on the conference committee to work out differences between the two chambers on the China competition bills (USICA in the Senate and COMPETES in the House). This week, the Senate will take votes to officially name the conferees and formally go to conference with the House’s 81 conferees.
House. The House will be in session this week before recessing Friday for one week. Numerous hearings are scheduled as well as suspension votes on non-controversial measures. One bill of note on the House floor is legislation the Senate approved unanimously on April 6, the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act. The measure would expedite the transfer of military equipment and other critical supplies to Ukraine by cutting bureaucratic red tape. It would allow the Defense Department to lend or lease equipment and supplies to Ukraine or any other eastern European country, such as Poland.
Ukraine Aid. President Biden this week will be asking Congress to approve additional aid for Ukraine, and it’s possible the House could move quickly to take up the bill. However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has indicated he would like to combine the Ukraine funding with legislation to provide $10 billion more to address the Covid pandemic. The Covid funding bill stalled in the Senate before the recess after Republicans demanded votes on Biden’s decision to lift Title 42, effective May 23. Title 42 is a public health order implemented in the Trump Administration that allows the federal government to expel or stop migrants from entering the U.S. due to the Covid pandemic. With a handful of Democrats supporting the Republican effort, Schumer decided against moving forward on the Covid funding bill. It’s unclear how the issue will be handled legislatively or whether the Administration will delay the May 23 effective date.
FY 2023 Appropriations. The House Appropriations Committee has sketched out a schedule for marking up FY 2023 spending bills. The plan envisions subcommittee markups from June 13 to 22, followed by full committee markups June 22 to 30. “These could be long days,” a memo to committee members advises.
Committee Action of Note:
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