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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate this week will begin consideration of legislation reauthorizing federal aviation programs. The FAA bill, which was released early this morning, was hammered out by leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees. The current authorization expires May 10.

Senators are expected to offer numerous amendments, including a challenge to the bill’s provision that would allow airlines to add a total of five roundtrip flights at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). DCA is one of five U.S. airports governed by a high-density slot rule to manage congestion and is the only airport subject to a federal perimeter rule, which currently restricts nonstop flights to a 1,250-mile radius. The slot rule limits DCA to 60 slots (arrivals or departures) per hour, but past Congresses have approved an additional seven slots. The perimeter rule was originally set at 650 miles in 1966 but was expanded to 1,000 miles in 1981 and then to 1,250 miles in 1986. Since then, Congress has granted exemptions to the perimeter rule for flights to 10 cities. The compromise legislation that was released today requires the Transportation Department to grant 10 slot exemptions, which can be within or beyond the perimeter, no later than 60 days after enactment.

House. The House will have a short work week, with last votes expected by the evening of Wednesday, May 1, to accommodate those members who will be attending the funeral service on Thursday for Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.). On the legislative agenda are a number of bills approved by the Natural Resources Committee, including a proposal that would reverse the Biden administration’s cancellation of oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and block the Interior Department’s recently finalized rule to limit oil and gas leasing on 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

Committee Action of Note

Tuesday, April 30

  • Senate Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies: Request for the Department of Education
    • Subcommittee on Defense: Request for the Army
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies: Request for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • House Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Defense: Request for the National Guard and Reserve Forces
    • Subcommittee on Homeland Security: Request for Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies: Request for the Department of Transportation
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: Request for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • Subcommittee on Defense: Request for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force
    • Subcommittee on Homeland Security: Request for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
  • House Oversight and Accountability Committee Hearing: “A Focus on Management: Oversight of the Office of Management and Budget”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: “Legislative Proposals to Increase Medicaid Access and Improve Program Integrity”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Hearing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce Hearing: “Preserving Americans’ Access to AM Radio”
  • Senate Armed Forces Subcommittee on Personnel Hearing on the Department of Defense’s efforts to ensure servicemembers’ access to safe, high-quality pharmaceuticals

Wednesday, May 1

  • Senate Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: Request for Military Construction and Family Housing
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: Request for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Senate Finance Committee Hearing: “Hacking America’s Health Care: Assessing the Change Healthcare Cyber Attack and What’s Next”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: “Examining the Change Healthcare Cyberattack”
  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Denial, Disinformation, and Doublespeak: Big Oil’s Evolving Efforts to Avoid Accountability for Climate Change”
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee markup of 17 measures, including:
    • S. 275 – Rural Broadband Protection Act of 2023;
    • Daniel Maffei and Rebecca Dye to be Commissioners on the Federal Maritime Commission;
    • Jennifer Homendy to be Chair of the National Transportation Safety Board; and
    • Patrick Fuchs to be a Member on the Surface Transportation Board
  • Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Seapower Hearing to receive testimony on Navy and Marine Corps Investment Programs
  • House Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: Request for the Indian Health Service
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies: Request for the Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • Subcommittee on Homeland Security: Request for the U.S. Coast Guard
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: Request for the Arts and Humanities
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies: Request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: Request for Army Military Construction and Family Housing
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy Hearing: “Merger Policies of the Federal Banking Agencies”
  • House Natural Resources Committee Hearing: “Examining the President’s FY25 Request for the Department of the Interior”
  • House Education and the Workforce Committee Hearing: “Examining the Policies and Priorities of the Department of Labor”

Thursday, May 2

  • Senate Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies: Request for the U.S. Department of Transportation
    • Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies: FY25 and FY26 Advance Appropriations Requests for the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing to examine the President’s FY 25 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of the Interior
  • Senate Banking, Housing and Uran Affairs Committee Hearing: “Higher Prices: How Shrinkflation and Technology Impact Consumers’ Finances”

Political Update

House Vacancies. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) stayed in Congress an extra day beyond his announced retirement to vote on the national security supplemental spending bills and then resigned on Saturday, April 20. His seat will remain vacant for the rest of the year. Under Wisconsin law, congressional vacancies that happen in an election year can only be filled in a special election if they happen before the second Tuesday in April, which was April 9 this year.

On Wednesday, April 24, Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) passed away. Payne was unopposed in the June 4 Democratic primary, which he is expected to win posthumously. Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who can schedule a special election that would likely not take place until late September at the earliest, has not announced his plans.

The newly vacant seats in Wisconsin and New Jersey mean the House now has 217 Republicans, 212 Democrats, and six vacancies. One of those vacancies will be filled when voters in the 26th District of New York go to the polls tomorrow to elect a successor to Rep. Brian Higgins (D), who resigned Feb. 2. Democratic State Senator Tim Kennedy is expected to prevail in the special election. After tomorrow’s voting, the next three special elections are expected to see Republicans replacing other Republicans – May 21 in California to fill Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s seat, June 11 in Ohio to replace Rep. Bill Johnson, and June 25 in Colorado to replace Rep. Ken Buck.

www.psw-inc.com


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