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Legislative Update

House. House Republicans are in Orlando for a three-day retreat that kicked off on Sunday. There are no floor votes scheduled until the evening of May 11 as this week and next are designated as “Committee Work Weeks.” When the House reconvenes May 11, votes are scheduled through May 20. Members will be in their districts the week of May 31 for the Memorial Day recess and will return June 7 for a week of committee work but no floor votes.

Senate. The Senate will continue to consider nominations and is expected to begin consideration of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act. There will also be a vote on a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to kill a Trump administration methane rule, thereby clearing the way for the Biden administration to promulgate new standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The resolution needs only 51 votes to pass and has support from a handful of Republicans.

American Families Plan. In his speech to Congress on Wednesday, President Biden is expected to make the case for his American Families Plan. Although details have not yet been released, the plan will include an expansion of federal aid for low- and middle-income Americans, with the cost to be offset by higher income tax rates for taxpayers with incomes over $400,000 a year and with higher tax rates on capital gains and dividends for taxpayers with incomes over $1 million.

Senate Earmarks. Last Wednesday Senate Republicans decided not to vote on changes to their rules, thereby keeping their ban on earmarks. The conference rules, however, are nonbinding and several GOP Senators have indicated they would participate in the earmark process. House Democrats in late February announced plans for “community project funding” requests, and in March, House Republicans voted to participate in the process.

Senate Democrats will also be asking for earmarks, and this afternoon Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released details of the process for “congressionally directed spending.” Like the House, the amount of funds available for earmarks in the Senate is limited to 1% of discretionary spending, and earmark requests cannot benefit for-profit entities. While House members are limited to 10 requests per lawmaker, there is no limit mentioned in the Senate rules.

Committee Action of Note:

  • Tuesday, April 27:
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine energy development on federal lands, focusing on the current status of the Department of the Interior's onshore oil and gas leasing program.
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing to examine climate challenges, focusing on the tax code's role in creating American jobs, achieving energy independence, and providing consumers with affordable, clean energy.
    • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security hearing to examine curbing COVID cons, focusing on warning consumers about pandemic frauds, scams, and swindles.
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation hearing: “The Leading Edge: Innovation in U.S. Aerospace.”
    • House Financial Services Committee Member Day Hearing.
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce hearing: “The Consumer Protection and Recovery Act: Returning Money to Defrauded Consumers.”
    • Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing to examine S.283, to establish a National Climate Bank.
    • Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth hearing to examine creating opportunity through a fairer tax system.
    • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Surface Transportation, Maritime, Freight, and Ports hearing to examine the future of automotive mobility, safety, and technology.
  • Wednesday, April 28:
    • House Appropriations Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies hearing: FY 2022 Budget Request for the Department of Labor.
    • House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology hearing: National Science Foundation: Advancing Research for the Future of U.S. Innovation.
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine the response to COVID-19, focusing on using lessons learned to address mental health and substance use disorders.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing to examine the reemergence of rent-a-bank.
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing: “The Long Haul: Forging a Path through the Lingering Effects of COVID-19.”
    • House Financial Services Committee hearing: “Examining the Role of Municipal Bond Markets in Advancing – and Undermining – Economic, Racial and Social Justice.”
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management hearing: “Investing in America: Reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration.”
    • Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing to examine proposed budget estimates and justification for FY 2022 for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
    • Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support hearing to examine defense acquisition programs and acquisition reform.
    • Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution hearing to examine stopping gun violence, focusing on extreme risk order/"red flag" laws.
    • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health hearing: “Charting the Path Forward for Telehealth.”
  • Thursday, April 29:
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine the nomination of Tommy P. Beaudreau to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior.
    • Senate Finance Committee hearing to examine Social Security during COVID, focusing on how the pandemic hampered access to benefits and strategies for improving service delivery.
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing to examine the dignity of work.
    • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law hearing: “Treating the Problem: Addressing Anticompetitive Conduct and Consolidation in Health Care Markets.”
    • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade hearing: “Advancing U.S. Economic Competitiveness, Equity, and Sustainability Through Infrastructure Investments.”

Political Update

House Special Election. In a runoff race on Saturday, Troy Carter won a special election in Louisiana to take the 2nd Congressional District seat of Rep. Cedric Richmond (D), who resigned to head the White House Office of Public Engagement. Carter, who had Richmond’s backing, defeated fellow Democratic state senator Karen Carter Peterson.

House Apportionments. The Census Bureau today released apportionment numbers based on the 2020 census, showing that Texas will add two members to its House delegation in 2022 while five states will add one member – Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. Seven states will lose one seat – California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. According to the Census Bureau, this is the smallest shift in any decade since the 1930s. States are expected to receive redistricting data by Aug. 16, and the full redistricting data will be delivered by September 30.

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