Federal Legislative Update - January 30, 2023
Both chambers are back in Washington, D.C., this week. Each chamber will hold its first formal hearings, with the House focusing on several oversight issues, while the Senate will discuss the 2023 Farm Bill and implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Debt limit negotiations and outstanding committee assignments also remain points of contention.
The House will consider 5 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Cost-Share Accountability Act of 2023 (HR 342), which requires the Department of Energy to report on the use of its authority to reduce or eliminate the cost-sharing requirements for its research, development, demonstration, and commercial application program or activities under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The House will also consider the Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act (HR 298), which mandates the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation within the Securities and Exchange Commission to report on issues encountered by rural-area small businesses. The House Rules Committee will also meet on 5 additional bills, four of which center around ending policies created during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After agreeing to speak on the debt limit, President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will officially meet this Wednesday at the White House. The White House has maintained that there will be no concessions on spending cuts while citing a willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to avoid defaulting on the country’s debts. Some members of the GOP have called for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, while the Speaker has reiterated that those cuts are off the table. We are still awaiting details on what both sides will be willing to concede as part of these negotiations. This meeting should provide additional insight as negotiations ramp up.
The Senate remains in limbo as the upper chamber will not begin work in earnest until an organizing resolution passes. Passage of this resolution formally organizes the upper chamber for 2023 and 2024 and is done after both parties decide on committee rosters. Senate Republicans have yet to complete their rosters, citing snags in the process. We expect the Senate to approve an organizing resolution later this week once Senate Republicans finalize their committee assignments. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) expects the Senate GOP Conference will complete its rosters early this week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) set a vote for tonight at 5:30pm ET, however, there is no announcement about what is being voted on specifically.
This week, the House and Senate will formally settle a handful of committees into the 118th session with organizational business meetings. Those Committees include Judiciary, Oversight, and Transportation and Infrastructure on the House side and Environment and Public Works and Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the Senate side. For the remainder of the week, the House will hold several committee hearings, including a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on “The State of Transportation Infrastructure and Supply Chain Challenges;” and an Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing on “Rampant Waste of Taxpayer Dollars in COVID Relief Programs.” The latter hearing expects to discuss the distribution of available vaccines and American Rescue Plan Act funding with assistance from states. On the Senate side, the Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on the “Farm Bill 2023: Trade And Horticulture;” and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the “Implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.”