Federal Legislative Update - May 1, 2023
The Senate is in session this week, with the House returning next week. Today, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced the U.S. must raise the debt limit by June 1 to avoid a default.
In a Dear Colleague letter, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Senators that various committees would hold hearings on the House Republican-passed legislation on the debt limit. The hearings will start this week with a Budget Committee hearing titled “The Default on America Act: Blackmail, Brinkmanship, and Billionaire Backroom Deals.” Senate Democrats will use the hearings to message against the proposed cuts in the Republican proposal. One central sticking point in the upper chamber is a food aid concession passed in the House proposal. Many vulnerable and swing state Senate Democrats facing re-election in 2024 are considering support of increased work requirements for federal food assistance. Additionally, the Senate will vote on Anthony Devos Johnstone’s nomination to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023 (H.R. 2811) on a vote of 217-215 with four Republicans, Tim Burchett (R-Tenn), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) voting against. The vote to pass H.R. 2811 provides Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) with one of his first major legislative wins as leader of the House. Speaker McCarthy has gained leverage on resolving the debt limit, leading to a showdown with President Biden. Following the Treasury letter citing a June 1 expiration of the ability for the U.S. to pay all of its outstanding obligations, negotiations between parties should escalate in order to resolve the debt limit.
In a letter sent to Members, House Appropriations Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas) announced that the House Appropriations Committees would aim to markup their annual government funding bills between May 17 and June 15. The House Appropriations Committee also published all earmark requests for Fiscal Year 2024.
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on “Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program: Improving Community Resilience;” a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on “Improving Access to Federal Grants for Underserved Communities.”
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Rebuilding Rural Roads Act
Rep. Brad Finstad (R-Minn.-1)
Changes the definition of “rural” under the Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program, giving rural communities greater opportunity to secure infrastructure investments.
Returning Home Act
Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.-44)
Provides resources to communities to secure housing for individuals returning from incarceration.
Neighborhood Tree Act of 2023
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
Provides urban communities with more resources to plant more trees, with a focus on underserved neighborhoods, and fighting racial disparities in the urban tree canopy.
The Excess Urban Heat Mitigation Act of 2023
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.-3) & Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
Creates a competitive grant program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide funding to combat the causes and effects of excess urban heat and heat islands.
STOP Violence Act
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.-2)
Allows local governments to use grant funding to provide compensation, training, and technical assistance for public facilities that wish to implement security measures against mass shooters.
Water Infrastructure Sustainability and Efficiency (WISE) Act
Rep. Nikema Williams (D-Ga.-05)
Permanently sets aside 20 percent of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund for environmentally friendly water infrastructure projects.