Senate. This week Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans for the Senate to take up legislation he co-sponsored with Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) – the Endless Frontier Act. While the bill’s core purpose is to increase funding for the National Science Foundation, the measure will be broadened considerably on the floor to include proposals aimed at bolstering U.S. competitiveness with China. Floor consideration could take two weeks, wrapping up before the Senate leaves for the Memorial Day recess that begins May 31. Votes could also occur before the recess on nominations, including that of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
House. Attention in the House will be on two bills related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. One measure is a $1.9 billion supplemental appropriations bill to improve security at the Capitol; the other would establish a 10-person commission to conduct an investigation of the attack and to make recommendations, with a final report due by December 31.
The agreement to establish the commission was hammered out by the chairman and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee – Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.), breaking a months-long impasse between the parties as to how the panel should be structured. Under the agreement, the panel will be equally divided between commissioners appointed by the congressional Democratic and Republican leadership. Current government officials are not eligible for appointment.
Budget/Tax Proposals. The Biden administration will release its FY 2022 budget proposal on May 27. At the same time or shortly thereafter, the Treasury Department will issue what’s known as the Green Book, which provides details on the various tax proposals in the President’s budget, including those in the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan.
Earmarks. Not only do the House and Senate have different names for their earmarks (Community Project Funding in the House and Congressionally Directed Spending in the Senate), they also differ on the spending accounts eligible for earmark requests. In particular, the Senate does not provide for any directed spending requests in the Defense appropriations bill, and its eligible accounts in other funding bills don’t always match up with accounts selected by the House Appropriations Committee.
According to Roll Call, a Senate aide said that since “defense spending largely goes to for-profit corporations through competitively-bid processes, there is a bipartisan agreement to not accept congressionally directed spending requests in the Defense bill.” Senators can submit their requests between May 28 and July 8.
In addition to appropriations bills, earmarks are also permitted for the surface transportation reauthorization bill. According to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, House members have submitted 2,380 Member Designated Project requests, with three-quarters of those coming from Democrats. Requests came from 213 Democrats and 105 Republicans.
Committee Action of Note:
Latest House Count. With the May 11 swearing-in of Rep. Troy Carter (D-La.) to replace Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), there are now 219 Democrats and 212 Republicans in the House, with four vacancies. Of the four vacancies, three seats were held by Democrats (N.M., Fla., and Ohio) and one by a Republican (Tex.).