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:
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.
With President Biden set to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday (albeit with limited attendance because of the pandemic), details are expected to emerge soon on the administration’s American Families Plan. In the Senate, Appropriations Chair Leahy on Monday released an outline of the earmark process for Senators who want to participate in “congressionally directed spending.”Read More