The Weekly Legislative Update will take a one-week break, returning on Monday, July 10.
The House and Senate are in a two-week recess for the July 4th holiday. The chambers will return on July 10 and 11, respectively. The following legislative update will highlight where Congress stands on many outstanding legislative priorities. Negotiations surrounding the debt ceiling legislation in May delayed much of the progress on other priorities. With that now behind Congress, lawmakers will turn their attention to government spending legislation, reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Farm Bill, and the National Defense Authorization Act.
When Congress returns, appropriators will continue marking up Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 spending bills in the full committee and individual subcommittees. The likelihood of a potential government shutdown, beginning on October 1, 2023, places the FY24 appropriations process at the forefront of discussions. With only three months until the shutdown deadline, many, including several high-ranking lawmakers, believe a short-term continuing resolution (CR) is inevitable. “The real deadline is January 1,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), vice chair of the Appropriations Committee. Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee proposed funding totals matching the $1.59 trillion number set in the debt limit law. The allocation level in the Senate means that the House Appropriations Committee’s approved topline FY24 spending level is $119 billion lower than what the Senate is considering. This sets up a challenging conference when both sides finish their bill markups and negotiations begin this Fall. Regarding progress on the annual federal appropriations process, below is an outline of where both chambers stand.
House appropriators enter a two-week break, having crossed the halfway mark for FY24 markups. The Appropriations Committee has approved six funding bills in full committee, including: Agriculture-FDA, Defense, Energy-Water Development, Homeland Security, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-VA. In the Senate, lawmakers, thus far, have completed full committee markups on the Agriculture-FDA and Military Construction-VA bills.
Upon returning during the week of July 10, the full House Appropriations Committee expects to finish marking up the State-Foreign Operations bill, which was voted out of the subcommittee last Thursday. The other remaining five FY24 spending bills (Commerce—Justice—Science; Financial Services—General Government; Interior—Environment; Labor—HHS—Education; and Transportation—HUD) will likely be marked up during the remainder of July by the committee.
FAA, Farm Bill, & Other Reauthorizations
The House and Senate versions of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorizations include $103 and $107 billion in funding over the next five years, with both chambers angling to complete their bill versions in July. The House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee voted unanimously on June 14 to pass the Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935) out of committee by a vote of 63-0. Senators in the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee postponed a markup of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S.1939) after amendments submitted by Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) to ease pilot training derailed progress toward marking up the bill. The Senate will most likely take up their markup once returning from the July 4th recess. Significant points of contention include pilot training and retirement age, slots at Reagan Washington National Airport, eliminating “junk fees,” and passenger protection provisions. Leaders of the House and Senate Committees hope to finish a conference by the September 30, 2023 government funding deadline.
All signs point to a short-term extension for several Farm Bill-related provisions from the 2018 Farm Bill covering numerous food and nutrition policies and programs. Like government funding, the Farm Bill expires on September 30, 2023, creating a critical time crunch for lawmakers, who have yet to release draft text of the legislation. House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson (R-Penn.) aims for an early September markup of the lower chamber’s bill. The move would leave just a few weeks for the Senate to pass and both chambers to conference the bill. Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) remarked, "It would not surprise me" if Congress passed a short-term extension providing extra time to work on the bill.
Last week, the Senate and House Armed Services Committees completed markups of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024. After considering 400 amendments, the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced NDAA legislation on a 24-1 vote, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as the lone “No” vote. The House Armed Services voted the bill favorably out of Committee by a vote of 58-1, with Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif) registering a no vote. The House Rules Committee issued an NDAA amendments deadline of Friday, June 30, indicating a vote by the full House during the week of July 10. Both chambers include $886.3 billion for the NDAA bills in FY24, with limited items to conference if the full House and Senate vote to pass the bills.
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Housing Crisis Response Act of 2023
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA-43)
Provides more than $150 billion in fair and affordable housing investments. Create nearly 1.4 million affordable ad accessible homes, help nearly 300,000 households afford their rent, and address the racial wealth gap.
Rebuild Rural America Act
Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13) & Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Invests $50 billion in rural economic development, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and small businesses nationwide.
Shovel-Ready Streets Act
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA)
Amends the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to modify the Safe Streets and Roads for All program funding street safety improvements and make roads safer for pedestrians.
Water for Conservation and Farming Act
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Provides for drought preparedness and improved water supply reliability.
Local Infrastructure Funding & Technical Assistance (LIFT) Act
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)
Promotes long-term economic recovery and job creation in environmental justice communities by providing for investment in catalytic local predevelopment projects for resilient climate infrastructure innovation, to provide assistance to support State and local project development, and for other purposes.
Council on Environmental Quality
Proposes equitable and just practices to advance safety, health, and prosperity for communities residing near the ocean, the coasts, and the Great Lakes and for the whole country, now and for future generations.
July 24, 2023
FEMA is reviewing the input on implementation of Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act of 2022 for potential improvements to FEMA’s resilience zones.
July 25, 2023
The Office of the Secretary of Transportation invites public comment regarding how DOT’s work to advance equity has impacted organizations and communities, as well as input on performance metrics, data sets, tools, and research to measure and advance transportation equity.
June 30, 2023
The FAA is reviewing our noise policy as part of our ongoing commitment to address aircraft noise.
July 31, 2023
The EPA attempts to provide innovative approaches necessary to reduce and recover plastic materials and improve economic, social, and environmental impacts.
July 31, 2023 (Extended from original June 16)
Army Corps of Engineers
The Corps is requesting proposals for the pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged communities.
August 21, 20