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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate this week will continue consideration of the FAA reauthorization bill. Senators have filed over 90 amendments, and leaders from both sides of the aisle are working to hammer out a deal that will allow floor votes on a limited number of amendments.

On Friday, Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said he would file an amendment that includes the language of the tax bill he crafted with House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo) to retroactively extend certain business tax breaks that were limited by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as well as providing an expansion of the Child Tax Credit. Republican leaders are expected to object to Wyden’s amendment being one of the proposals approved for a floor vote. If the Senate cannot pass the FAA bill in time for the House to also act before a Friday night deadline, another short-term extension might be necessary.

House. The House this week will be waiting to act on a Senate-passed FAA reauthorization bill and tonight will swear in Democrat Tim Kennedy, who won the April 30 special election to succeed Rep. Brian Higgins (D) in New York’s 26th District. When Kennedy is sworn in, there will be 217 Republicans, 213 Democrats, and five vacancies in the House.

While the House schedule calls for consideration of various bills dealing with hardrock mining, household appliances, and nuclear licensing, the most newsworthy action will be determined by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). This afternoon, Greene and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who supports Greene’s effort to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, met for over two hours with the Speaker. Although Greene had promised to move forward this week to force a vote on her resolution to vacate the Speaker’s chair, she declined to say after the meeting whether she would still do so. Instead, she said that she and Massie would meet again with the Speaker on Tuesday.

If Greene does decide to trigger action on her motion to vacate, the House has two legislative days to act. Republican leaders are expected to move to table the resolution, and House Democratic leadership has said Democrats will support that effort. Consequently, Greene’s motion to vacate would be tabled, i.e., laid aside, and Speaker Mike Johnson would retain his speakership.

House Committee Leadership. Three House panels will have a new chair or ranking member. With the April 20 resignation from Congress of Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) will take over as chairman of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) has been chosen to replace Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) as ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security. Cuellar and his wife were indicted Friday by the Justice Department on bribery, foreign influence, and money laundering charges. House Democratic Caucus rules require committee or subcommittee chairs to step aside if they’re indicted for a felony that could draw a sentence of two or more years of imprisonment. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) will become the ranking member of the House Transportation’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, succeeding Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), who passed away on April 24.

Farm Bill. House Agriculture Chairman GT Thompson (R-Pa.), who is planning to mark up a new farm bill on May 23, released a title-by-title summary of his proposal on Wednesday, May 1. The legislative language is expected to be released the week before the markup. Also on May 1, Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) unveiled her framework for the farm bill and a section-by-section summary. The committees are hoping that a final bill can be enacted this year, having failed to do so last year. Last December, Congress approved a one-year extension of farm bill programs, with a new deadline of Sept. 30, 2024. An agreement between the two chambers is unlikely by then, however, leading many to believe that it will be in a lame-duck session this year or in 2025 before a deal is approved and sent to the President.

Committee Action of Note

Tuesday, May 7

  • House Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: Request for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government: Request for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
    • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: Request for the U.S. International Development Finance Corporations
  • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Hearing: “Intellectual Property: Enforcement Activities by the Executive Branch”
  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Hearing: “Building the Fleet: Assessing the Department of Homeland Security’s Role in the United States Coast Guard’s Acquisitions Process”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Hearing: “EPA’s RMP Rule: Failures to Protect the American People and American Manufacturing”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets Hearing: “SEC Enforcement: Balancing Deterrence with Due Process”

Wednesday, May 8

  • Senate Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Defense: Request for the Department of Defense
    • Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies: Request for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: Request for the Department of the Interior
  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Proposed FY 25 Budget”
  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Reducing Paperwork, Cutting Costs: Alleviating Administrative Burdens in Health Care”
  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearing: “Strengthening Data Security to Protect Consumers”
  • Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to receive testimony on military and civilian personnel programs in the Department of Defense in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY25 and the Future Years Defense Program
  • House Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearings:
    • Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government: Request for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
    • Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies: Request for the Department of Commerce
  • House Budget Committee Hearing: “The Cost of the Border Crisis”
  • House Small Business Committee Hearing: “Stifling Innovation: Examining the Impacts of Regulatory Burdens on Small Businesses in Healthcare”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions Hearing: “Mission Critical: Restoring National Security as the Focus of Defense Production Act Reauthorization, Part II”

Thursday, May 9

  • Senate Appropriations Committee FY25 Budget Hearing:
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies: Request for the Department of Labor
  • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Hearing: “Consumer Protection: Examining Fees in Financial Services and Rental Housing”

Friday, May 10

  • House Ways and Means Committee Field Hearing: “Empowering Native American and Rural Communities”
  • House Judiciary Committee Field Hearing: “The Biden Border Crisis: Arizona Perspectives”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Field Hearing: “Perspectives from the Fields: The State of Rural Broadband in America”

Political Update

Indiana Primaries. Indiana will hold primary elections on Tuesday. Many observers are watching the 5th Congressional District, where Rep. Victoria Spartz (R) is running against eight other candidates for the Republican nomination. Spartz announced in February 2023 that she would not run for re-election but changed course in December by saying she was reconsidering her decision and then confirming in February 2024, shortly before the filing deadline, that she would run for re-election. Indiana does not have runoffs in the primaries so Spartz, or one of her challengers, could win with less than a majority of the vote.

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