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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate this week will continue to consider nominations. There is a possibility Senators could also vote on legislation that would codify the right of same-sex couples to marry.

House. The House returns Tuesday from its August recess and will consider several bills under suspension as well as Democratic messaging bills “to promote transparency and accountability in government.” While there was speculation that the House this week would take up a continuing resolution to fund the government through Dec. 16, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today that the Senate would go first on the CR. Sixty votes will be needed to move the CR in the Senate.

Continuing Resolution. There are at least two roadblocks standing in the way of passage of a continuing resolution that is needed to keep the government open after Sept. 30. First is the Administration’s request that the CR include $47 billion in supplemental funding – $13.7 billion related to Ukraine, $22.4 billion in Covid-related spending, $4.5 billion to fight monkeypox, and $6.5 billion in disaster relief. Republicans continue to oppose more Covid spending unless it is offset.

The second roadblock is opposition to including language in the CR that would streamline the federal permitting process for energy projects. Democratic leadership promised Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that they would pass permitting reform legislation by Sept. 30 in order to secure his vote for the Inflation Reduction Act. However, not all Democrats are on board with permitting reform, so approval in both chambers will be dependent on Republican support. Whether there will be sufficient GOP support could depend, to some extent, on the actual language of the permitting proposal, which has not yet been released. The Republican vote, though, could end up being based more on politics than policy, given Republican anger at Manchin and an unwillingness to support a Democratic proposal two months before the elections.

User Fee Act. In addition to the CR, the other piece of legislation with a Sept. 30 deadline is the reauthorization of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fee programs, including those for prescription drugs and medical devices. The House passed its version of a five-year reauthorization on June 8, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee cleared its version June 14, and negotiations have been ongoing since then to craft a consensus package. If an agreement can be hammered out in the coming days, there is speculation that the UFA bill could catch a ride on the CR.

Committee Action of Note

  • Tuesday, September 13
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to consider the nominations of Karla Gilbride to be General Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Jessica Looman to be Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor
    • Senate Banking and Urban Affairs Committee hearing: “New Consumer Financial Products and the Impacts to Workers”
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: “Data Security at Risk: Testimony from a Twitter Whistleblower”
  • Wednesday, September 14
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing: “Stopping the Spread of Monkeypox: Examining the Federal Response”
    • House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing: “The Role of Public Relations Firms in Preventing Action on Climate Change”
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: “Flatlining Care: Why Immigrants are Crucial to Bolstering our Health Care Workforce”
    • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee markup: Coast Guard Authorization Act
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on the nomination of Shailen Bhatt to be Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration
    • House Financial Services Committee hearing: “When Banks Leave: The Impacts of De-Risking on the Caribbean and Strategies for Ensuring Financial Access”
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation hearing: “Cargo Preference: Compliance with and Enforcement of Maritime’s Buy American Laws”
    • House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing: “Strengthening U.S. Engagement in Central Asia”
    • House Committee on Ways & Means hearing: “The Future of U.S.-Taiwan Trade”
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: “Protecting Americans Private Information from Hostile Foreign Powers”
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health markup of legislation, including H.R. 3173, the “Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2021;” H.R. 3655, the “Vaccine Injury Compensation Modernization Act of 2021;” H.R. 5141, the “Maximizing Outcomes through Better Investments in Lifesaving Equipment for (MOBILE) Health Care Act;” H.R. 8163, the “Improving Trauma Systems and Emergency Care Act;” H.R. 6737, the “Flint Registry Reauthorization Act”
  • Thursday, September 15
    • House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing: “Fueling the Climate Crisis: Examining Big Oil’s Prices, Profits, and Pledges”
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing: “Oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission”
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and House Agriculture Committee Joint Hearing: “Rail Service Challenges and the Impact on Agriculture”
  • Friday, September 16
    • House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing: “Project Federal Information Technology: Make IT Work”

Political Update

House Head Count. On Tuesday, the winners of three House special elections will be sworn in. Democrat Mary Peltola will take the seat of Republican Rep. Don Young (Alaska); Democrat Pat Ryan won the seat held by fellow Democrat Antonio Delgado in New York’s 19th Congressional District; and Republican Joe Sempolinski will take the seat of fellow Republican Tom Reed in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

With the swearing in of the three new members, there will be 221 Democrats and 212 Republicans, with two vacancies – one from each party. On Aug. 31, Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) resigned his 13th District seat to concentrate on his race for governor. In Indiana’s 2nd District, both parties have selected candidates who will face off in a Nov. 8 special election to serve the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R). Both candidates will also vie for a two-year term in the general election on the same day.

Tuesday Primaries. Primaries will be held tomorrow in New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Delaware. The race drawing the most attention is the Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire, where voters will choose a candidate to challenge Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan. The leading candidates are state Senate President Chuck Morse, who is supported by Gov. Chris Sununu (R), and retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who maintains that former President Trump won the 2020 election. The latest polling shows Bolduc, who many Republicans view as too extreme to win the general election, ahead of Morse.

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