House. The House this week will consider its first FY 2023 minibus, a package of six appropriations bills – Agriculture, Energy and Water, Transportation-HUD, Interior-Environment, Financial Services, and Military Construction-VA. Some 600 amendments have been filed, and the House Rules Committee is meeting today to decide which will be approved for floor votes. It is unclear whether the House will take up three more appropriations bills next week as planned. The House is scheduled to begin its August recess next Friday, July 29. If the Senate passes a reconciliation bill in the coming weeks, the House will reconvene to vote on the Senate-passed bill.
Senate. The Senate this week will continue to consider nominations and could begin the process for consideration of legislation to provide $52 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to fund grants and incentives for U.S. semiconductor manufacturers. The proposal would also create a 25% investment tax credit for investments in semiconductor manufacturing.
If a motion to proceed is filed on Tuesday, a cloture vote could occur on Thursday, with final passage next week. Legislative text and a summary of the CHIPS Act of 2022 were released Sunday, but there is still horse trading going on behind the scenes to add other provisions to the measure.
Senator John Cornyn (R-Tex.) indicated Sunday that Republicans could support the CHIPS bill now that Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has rejected “climate, tax elements of party-line Dem bill.” Republican support will also be needed in the House, where progressives, in particular, are not pleased with the decision to move forward on a pared-back bill that doesn’t include Democratic priorities from the House-passed COMPETES Act.
Reconciliation. So much has happened since last week. Late Thursday, July 14, news outlets reported that Senator Manchin would not support a reconciliation bill with climate and tax provisions, but he was OK with a bill that reduces drug prices and provides a two-year extension of expanded Affordable Care Act health insurance premium subsidies. Then, on Friday, Senator Manchin said the news reports were inaccurate, that he didn’t want to move forward now on a reconciliation bill with climate and tax provisions; he wanted to re-assess the situation after the Aug. 10 release of the July inflation numbers. All this led to President Biden releasing a statement Friday afternoon calling on the Senate to act before the August recess on legislation that includes the drug pricing provisions and Obamacare insurance subsidies.
Democrats want to address the Obamacare health insurance premium issue sooner rather than later. The enhanced subsidies are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, but in mid-August, many states will announce premiums for health insurance purchased on state exchanges established by Obamacare. Notices will go out in October, and if the subsidies aren’t extended, consumers (voters) will see a significant increase in their premiums.
As for the drug pricing provisions, the Senate parliamentarian on Thursday will hold a Byrd bath session to hear from both Democrats and Republicans as to why various provisions comply, or don’t comply, with Senate rules for reconciliation. Special attention will be paid to a provision requiring drug manufacturers to rebate to the government any revenues from price increases in Medicare or private insurance plans in excess of inflation. The inflation penalty would save approximately $100 billion, and some observers believe the parliamentarian will opine that the private market part of the provision does not comply with the reconciliation rules. The bill’s total savings is $287 billion.
The legislative language has not yet been released for a two-year extension of the expanded Obamacare subsidies, so there is no score yet from the Congressional Budget Office. An unofficial estimate pegs the cost at $100 billion. The Senate is scheduled to recess Aug. 5 but could stay in longer if needed to deal with a pared-back reconciliation bill and other pending legislation.
January 6 Committee. The House select committee examining the attack on the Capitol will hold a hearing on Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT. While this is the panel’s last scheduled hearing, it is possible that additional hearings could be held if warranted.
Committee Action of Note
July 19 Primary. Tomorrow is primary day in Maryland. Campaigning has been particularly heated in the 4th Congressional district, where the Democratic primary is likely to determine the successor to Rep. Anthony Brown (D), who is running for Attorney General. The race pits former Rep. Donna Edwards against Glenn Ivey. Final results in this and other primary races could be delayed for days because Maryland doesn’t permit mail-in ballots to be counted until two days after the primary.