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Legislative Update

House. Even with a government shutdown looming at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, the House has no plans yet to take up a continuing resolution that would keep the government open. Instead, House leadership is planning to take up four individual FY 2024 spending bills – Defense, Homeland Security, State/Foreign Operations, and Agriculture/FDA. The first step in that process will be consideration of the rule for floor debate. A vote on the rule could occur Tuesday evening. Even if the rule passes (and the leadership has had a spotty track record lately on that front) and if the House approves all four bills, those actions will not avert a shutdown as the House versions of these bills will not be approved by the Senate and no FY 2024 appropriations bills will be enacted by Sept. 30.

At some point, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy may try again to pass a Republican drafted CR, but the details of a new version remain in flux. The version that did not get a vote last week (because leaders realized it didn’t have enough Republican support to pass) would have provided funding through Oct. 31 at funding levels 8% below current levels for all programs except defense and veterans spending. The new version that is being discussed would reportedly cut the programs that are not protected by 27% for the period covered by the CR. Lately, McCarthy has been floating a 45-day time period but that, too, is unresolved.

With some Republicans opposed to any CR (and Democrats opposed to the House Republican versions), it is still unclear whether McCarthy will be able to pass a resolution with only Republican votes. The impasse over funding the government is likely to delay the House’s plan to take a two-week break at the end of this week.

Senate. It will take bipartisan support to pass a CR in the Senate, given the 60-vote parliamentary hurdle, and Senate Republicans have been reluctant to get ahead of House Speaker McCarthy as he deals with recalcitrant members of his caucus. However, with the clock ticking down, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took the first step last week toward moving a CR to the Senate floor. At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday the Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the House-passed FAA reauthorization bill, which Schumer plans to use as a vehicle for the Senate CR.

Schumer is negotiating with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the content of a CR that is expected to continue spending into December at current FY 2023 levels. Of course, Senate passage of a CR, which will have Republican support, does not guarantee that McCarthy will bring up the Senate bill for a House floor vote.

Shutdown Plans. The Office of Management and Budget has compiled links to contingency plans from federal departments and agencies with details on how operations will be affected in the event of a government shutdown. The OMB website also provides answers to “Frequently Asked Questions During a Lapse in Appropriations.”

Committee Action of Note

Wednesday, September 27

  • Senate Banking, House, and Urban Affairs Committee Markup of S. 2860, the “SAFER Banking Act”
  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Medicare Forever: Protecting Seniors by Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share”
  • Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Hearing: “Foreign Ownership in U.S. Agriculture”
  • Senate Rules and Administration Committee Hearing: “AI and the Future of our Elections”
  • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: “Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission” with SEC Chair Gary Gensler
  • House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Hearing: “Science and Technology at the EPA”
  • House Natural Resources Committee Hearing: “Destroying America’s Best Idea: Examining the Biden Administration’s Use of National Park Service Lands for Migrant Camps”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce Hearing: “Proposals to Enhance Product Safety and Transparency for Americans”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Joint Subcommittee Hearing: “Combatting Ransomware Attacks”

Thursday, September 28

  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: “Examining Opportunities to Counter the People’s Republic of China’s Control of Critical Mineral Supply Chains”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Hearing: “The Basis for an Impeachment Inquiry of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.”
  • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Work and Welfare Hearing: “Modernizing Child Welfare to Protect Vulnerable Children”
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Meeting: “Reclaiming Congress’s Article I Powers: Counterterrorism AUMF Reform”
  • House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Energy, and Supply Chains Hearing: “Energy Independence: How Burdensome Regulations are Crushing Small Offshore Energy Producers”
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment Hearing: “Clean Water Infrastructure Financing: State and Local Perspectives and Recent Developments”
  • House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Hearing: “Communism on Our Doorstep: The Threat of China’s Malign Influence in Latin America”
  • House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific Hearing: “Lasers and Water Cannons: Exposing the Chinese Communist Party’s Harassment in the South China Sea”
  • House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Hearing: H.R. 1121, “Protecting American Energy Production Act,” and H.R. 5616, “BRIDGE Production Act of 2023”

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