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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations, which could include the nomination of Steven Dettelbach to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The Senate could also vote on a package of gun control initiatives agreed to by 10 Democrats and 10 Republicans. The agreement includes some $20 billion in federal funding for mental health programs and school security upgrades, with the cost being offset by a one-year delay of a Medicare drug rebate rule. The bipartisan infrastructure bill delayed the rule until Jan. 1, 2026, and the gun legislation would further delay it until Jan. 1, 2027.

House. If the Senate approves the gun control legislation, the House is expected to quickly pass it and send it to the President for his signature. The House schedule this week includes votes on legislation to support mental health programs and a bill to authorize the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Health (ARPA-H) as an independent agency within HHS. When legislative business is concluded at the end of the week, the House and Senate will begin a two-week recess for the July 4th holiday, although the House will hold committee hearings next week.

Reconciliation. With Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) continuing their meetings, there has been increased speculation that a deal on reconciliation legislation can be reached. Much of the reporting focuses on tax increases, drug pricing, climate provisions, and deficit reduction, but there is another component that is of critical importance to many Democratic lawmakers – Obamacare health insurance.

The American Rescue Plan that was enacted in March 2021 included provisions designed to expand availability of insurance purchased through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. The ARP increased the size of ACA health insurance premium tax credits in 2021 and 2022 and made more people eligible for the tax credits. With the ARP enhancements scheduled to expire at the end of this year, it is estimated that millions of people will either lose coverage or pay substantially more for premiums in 2023.

The Build Back Better reconciliation bill that the House passed in November would extend the subsidies and expanded eligibility thresholds through 2025. Democrats would like those provisions to be included in the Senate’s reconciliation bill and are sensitive to the fact that many persons currently purchasing Obamacare insurance will be hit with sticker shock this fall when they are notified of the changes that are scheduled to take place in 2023 when the ARP provisions expire.

Committee Action of Note

  • Wednesday, June 22:
    • Senate Finance Committee Markup of the Enhancing American Retirement Now (EARN) Act
    • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Hearing: A Review of the Activities and Fiscal Year 2023 Funding Request of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
    • Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: “The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to Congress” with Federal Reserve Chairman Powell
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Hearing: “Toxic Substances Control Act Amendments implementation.”
    • Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Markup of Legislation, including the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act
    • House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration and International Economic Policy and Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact Joint Hearing: Addressing Root Causes of Migration from Central America through Private Investment: Progress in Vice President Harris' Call to Action
    • House Armed Services Committee Markup: H.R. 7900 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023
    • House Financial Services Committee Markup of Various Measures
    • House Appropriations Committee Markup: FY 2023 Report on the Suballocation of Budget Allocations for FY 2023, Defense and Legislative Branch Appropriations Bills
    • House Agriculture Committee Hearing: "A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Dairy Provisions"
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy Hearing: "Legislative Hearing to Strengthen Energy Infrastructure, Efficiency, and Financing”
    • House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth Hearing: Tackling the Tax Code: Evaluating Fairness, Efficiency and Potential to Spur Inclusive Economic Growth
    • Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing: "Examining FEMA’s Strategic Priorities and Disaster Preparedness."
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Markup: Fiscal Year 2023 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill
  • Thursday, June 23:
    • House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Hearing: "A Hearing with Trump White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx"
    • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: "Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy" with Federal Reserve Chairman Powell
    • House Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Hearing: "The Future of Digital Asset Regulation"
    • House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Hearing: On the January 6th Investigation
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Markup: FY 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Bill
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: “Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program: Administration Perspectives.”
  • Friday, June 24:
    • House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Hearing: Cutting Methane Pollution: Safeguarding Health, Creating Jobs, and Protecting our Climate
    • House Appropriations Committee Markup: FY 2023 Homeland Security and Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bills

Political Update

Elections Today. There are primaries today in Virginia and runoff races in Alabama and Georgia. In Alabama, Republican voters will choose their nominee for the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Richard Shelby (R). The runoff race pits Katie Britt, a former top aide to Shelby, against Rep. Mo Brooks. The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Rev. Dr. Will Boyd. In Virginia, Republican voters will pick nominees against Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger in highly competitive districts.

Texas Recounts. A recount of ballots from the May 24 Democratic primary runoffs has confirmed that Rep. Henry Cuellar is the winner in the 28th District, defeating Jessica Cisneros by 289 votes. In the 15th District, Michelle Vallejo edged Ruben Ramirez by 35 votes. The 15th District seat is open because its incumbent, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D), is running in a neighboring district due to redistricting.

Texas Runoff. In the June 14 special election to replace Rep. Filemon Vela (D), who resigned, the winner was Republican Mayra Flores. Flores’ victory over Democrat Dan Sanchez in the 34th District marks the first congressional seat to flip party control in 2022. In November, Flores will face off against Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez.

House Margins. With tonight’s swearing in of Republican Mayra Flores, there are now 220 Democrats, 210 Republicans, and five vacancies in the House. One of those vacancies will be filled by the winner of the June 28 special election in Nebraska to fill the seat of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R), who resigned March 31.

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