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Legislative Update

Senate. When the Senate returns next week from recess, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer may be a vote short to confirm any nominees opposed by all Republicans. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) had hip replacement surgery on June 30, and it’s unknown how long he will be out. If all 50 Republicans are present and opposed to a nominee, Schumer would have to delay the vote if Leahy is absent. Thus far, Vice President Harris has been called upon 23 times to break ties in her role as president of the Senate. She currently ranks third of all time in tie-breaking votes, trailing John Adams at 29 and John Calhoun at 31.

House. On July 1, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer released a new version of the Dome Directory, an app that shows Members’ committee assignments, major caucus memberships, leadership and whip team memberships. The new version, which now also includes biographies and defining key votes of the current Congress for every Member, is available for free on iOS, Android, and the web. A separate app, Dome Watch, originally launched in 2015, allows users to follow the House floor in real-time. Dome Watch is also available for free on iOS, Android, or the web.

Reconciliation. Talk has picked up that Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will be able to reach a deal on reconciliation, clearing the way for a possible Senate vote by the end of the month. The latest round of speculation was sparked by news reports last week that there was an agreement on drug pricing and that the Senate parliamentarian would soon be asked whether the drug pricing provisions would comport with the reconciliation rules. Just a few questions remain, including: How much revenue to raise and how? How much should be spent and on what programs? And how much of the revenue should be designated for deficit reduction?

As Senate Democrats talk amongst themselves to answer these major questions, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell weighed in June 30, with a succinct tweet: “Let me be perfectly clear: there will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill.” For now, Democrats plan to forge ahead with a reconciliation bill, so some observers see McConnell’s ultimatum on the China competition bill as a matter of timing. Under this line of thinking, House-Senate negotiations on USICA could be finalized once the Democratic reconciliation bill is enacted or dies.

Political Update

House Scorecard. Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, who resigned March 31, will be replaced by Republican Mike Flood, who won the June 28 special election in the 1st District of Nebraska. When Flood is sworn in, there will be 220 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and four vacancies in the House. In the June 28 party primaries, three incumbents lost their races. Redistricting in Illinois forced Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman and Republican Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller to face off against each other. The primary winners were Reps. Casten and Miller. In Mississippi, Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo lost his primary race to Mike Ezell.

With these three losses, there are now eight incumbents who fell short in primaries – three Democrats and five Republicans. In two races where incumbents faced each other, Republican Rep. David McKinley lost to Rep. Alex Mooney in West Virginia, and Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux lost to Rep. Lucy McBath in Georgia. Other incumbents who lost to party challengers were Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), and Tom Rice (R-S.C.).


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