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Legislative Update

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations.

House. On Thursday, the House is planning to vote on H.R. 2, the Secure the Border Act, which, among other things, would require the Homeland Security Secretary to immediately resume construction of the border wall and require the hiring and training of 22,000 Border Patrol agents. The legislation is unlikely to be approved by the Senate, and the White House said today that the President would veto it if it reached his desk. The White House also said today that the President would veto a second bill the House will vote on this week, i.e., legislation that would offer incentives to states to recoup fraudulent overpayments of pandemic and regular unemployment benefits.

Debt Limit. President Biden will discuss the debt ceiling at a Tuesday White House meeting with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. The meeting follows on Treasury Secretary Yellen’s May 1 letter noting that while “it is impossible to predict with certainty the exact date when Treasury will be unable to pay the government’s bills,” Treasury is estimating that “we will be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations by early June, and potentially as early as June 1, if Congress does not raise or suspend the debt limit before that time.”

With that timeframe in mind, the White House is pushing for congressional action this month, but that will be hard to accomplish given the substantive differences between the two parties as well as the presidential and congressional schedules. President Biden will be out of the country from May 17 until May 24, first for the G-7 summit in Japan and then for a summit meeting in Australia with the leaders of Australia, India, and Japan. As for Congress, the Senate and House are on different schedules. The Senate’s Memorial Day recess is scheduled to begin after it concludes business on May 19 and run through May 29. The House, meanwhile, will be out May 26-June 4. Not only is Tuesday’s 4 p.m. White House meeting not expected to produce an agreement, there is general skepticism that one can be enacted this month.

FY 2024 Appropriations. The leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee – Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) – say they are discussing top-line numbers for defense and non-defense spending bills. If they can agree on the overall numbers, each of the panel’s 12 subcommittees will then be assigned spending targets to be used to draft FY 2024 appropriations bills. Senators Murray and Collins are hoping that markup in at least one subcommittee can begin on May 18.

On the House side, Republicans plan to limit FY 2024 spending to FY 2022 levels – a total of $1.47 trillion, which is a cut of some $130 billion below this year’s level. Republicans have indicated that their FY 2024 proposals will not cut defense or veterans’ programs. Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-Tex.) notified committee members on April 27 that subcommittee and full committee markups of FY 2024 appropriations bills will be held from May 17 through June 15.

Committee Action of Note

Tuesday, May 9

  • Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing: “To receive testimony on the Department of Defense missile defense activities in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY 2024 and the Future Years Defense Program”
  • House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization Hearing: “Electronic Health Record Modernization Deep Dive: Pharmacy”
  • House Ways and Means Committee Field Hearing in Staten Island, N.Y.: “Trade in America: Securing Supply Chains and Protecting the American Worker.”

Wednesday, May 10

  • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Markup: S.229 (Securing Semiconductor Supply Chain Act of 2023), S.576 (Railway Safety Act of 2023), S.1280 (TRANQ Research Act of 2023), S.1284 (TORNADO Acts), S.1414 (National Weather Service Communications Improvement Acts), and S.1416 (NOAA Weather Radio Modernization Act)
  • Senate Budget Committee Hearing: “Lessons Learned: Leadership Perspectives and Experience on the National Costs of Climate Change”
  • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing: “The Need to Make Insulin Affordable for All Americans”
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion Joint Hearing: “The Future of Digital Assets: Measuring the Regulatory Gaps in the Digital Assets Markets”
  • House Small Business Committee Hearing: “Taking on More Risk: Examining the SBA’s Change to the 7(a) Lending Program Part I”
  • House Oversight and Accountability Hearing: “ESG Part I: An Examination on Environmental, Social, and Governance Practices with Attorneys General”
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Hearing on Highways and Transit Hearing: “Freight Forward: Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges to Deliver for America”
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing: “Modernizing U.S. Arms Exports and a Stronger AUKUS”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: “Overseeing Federal Funds for Broadband Deployment”
  • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Hearing: “Examining Policies that Inhibit Innovation and Patient Access”
  • House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittees on Energy and Investigations and Oversight Joint Hearing: “Return on Unprecedented Investment: An Analysis of the Department of Energy’s Implementation of the IIJA, the IRA, and the CHIPS and Science Act”
  • House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security Hearing: “Evaluating High-Risk Security Vulnerabilities at our Nation’s Ports”
  • House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy: “Federal Responses to Recent Bank Failures”
  • House Rules Committee Hearing: “Examining China’s Coercive Economic Tactics”

Thursday, May 11

  • Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: “Examining Cannabis Banking Challenges of Small Businesses and Workers”
  • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Markup, including S. 1339, to provide for increased oversight of entities that provide pharmacy benefit management services on behalf of group health plans and health insurance coverage
  • Senate Finance Committee Hearing: “Cross-border Rx: Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and U.S. International Tax Policy”
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: “To examine Opportunities for Congress to Reform the Permitting Process for Energy and Mineral Projects”
  • Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Hearing: “The State of Universal Service”
  • House Armed Services Subcommittee Markups: “H.R. 2670 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2024”
    • Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation
    • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
    • Subcommittee on Military Personnel
    • Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
    • Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations
  • House Administration Committee Hearing: “American Confidence in Elections: Protecting Political Speech”
  • House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Foreign Agriculture, and Horticulture Hearing: “Stakeholder Perspectives on Agricultural Trade”
  • House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing: “Oversight of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Joint Meeting: “Examining the Root Causes of Drug Shortages: Challenges in Pharmaceutical Drug Supply Chains”
  • House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability: “Reviewing the Bureau of Industry and Security, Part I: U.S. Export Controls in an Era of Strategic Competition”
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Hearing: “Getting Back on Track: Exploring Rail Supply Chain Resilience and Challenges”

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