The Senate is in session this week, while the House will be on recess for the next two weeks returning on February 27.
Following President Biden’s State of the Union address, Congress will receive President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request on March 9. Members of Congress have started releasing deadlines for earmarks (i.e., Community Project Funding and Congressionally Directed Spending requests in the House and Senate, respectively.) House and Senate Appropriations Committee leadership will share guidance on the process as early as this month. The update will include any changes to accounts available for Member requests and potential limits to the total number of project requests submitted. On the House side, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) and House Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas) are working with their conference to update the lower chamber’s rules on earmarks, rolling out potential changes and receiving feedback from Members. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Chair of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations subcommittee, said the Speaker mentioned the phrase “federal nexus” when referring to FY24 Community Project Funding requests. Cole continued saying the federal nexus would “make sure these are more directly things that you would expect the federal government to be involved in.” The House Appropriations Committee process may also require additional evidence of community support for each request.
June is the likely deadline for Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling, and the most significant sticking point to negotiations is spending cuts. On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Republicans of playing “brinkmanship” over the debt ceiling. Leader Schumer said Speaker McCarthy “will not even say what he wants to cut” while insisting on a clean debt ceiling. Currently, Democrats will not commit to any cuts, a demand that Republicans say is necessary. Today, Senators will vote on the confirmation of nominee Cindy Chung to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit and a motion to invoke cloture on Gina Mendez-Miro to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico.
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several committee hearings, including an Agriculture Committee hearing on the “Farm Bill 2023: Nutrition Programs;” and an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “The Future of Low Carbon Transportation Fuels and Considerations for a National Clean Fuels Program”