This week, both chambers return to session. Lawmakers will focus on addressing the $31.4 trillion debt limit as time is quickly running out for Congress to take action prior to a default from occurring.
All eyes shift to the upcoming Tuesday afternoon debt limit meeting between President Joe Biden and congressional leaders. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will attend the meeting at the White House, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) The meeting follows Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s announcement last week that the Treasury Department “will be unable to continue to satisfy all of the government’s obligations by early June, and potentially as early as June 1.” The Tuesday meeting between President Biden and the top four congressional leaders will be the first such meeting since the new 118th Congress began on January 3. President Biden and Democrats have insisted they will not budge on passing a “clean” debt limit increase without concessions or policy conditions pitched by the Speaker and House Republicans. Today, Minority Leader McConnell shared a hands-off approach to the dialogue stating that the Speaker and President “need to sit down now and settle it.” McConnell is known for his ability to make deals in moments where the outcome seems bleak but has maintained that he will continue to support Speaker McCarthy’s position.
When asked if he would consider invoking the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – which states that “The validity of the public debt of the United States […] shall not be questioned” – President Biden said, “I’ve not gotten there yet.” Many are also considering the option of a short-term debt limit increase to allow for additional negotiating time on a long-term solution. 43 Republican Senators shared a letter over the weekend to Majority Leader Schumer in opposition to raising the debt ceiling without substantive spending and budget reforms. The letter states that the country’s economy is in “free fall” and calls on Democrats to negotiate.
The House Appropriations Committee will begin holding subcommittee markups during the week of May 15. Five subcommittees will start with the first grouping of five bills for Fiscal Year 2024 on May 17 and 18, including the Defense, Energy-Water Development, Homeland Security, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction-VA bills. Just as the markup dates are unconfirmed, rumors exist that the House Appropriations subcommittee chairs are writing their bills with the FY 2022 topline number of $1.47 trillion. The full committee will markup these bills during May 23-25. On Friday, Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) said that she sees a topline deal occurring once there is a resolution to the debt limit issue. A staffer for Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said that markups could begin as early as May 18. Senate Majority Leader Schumer will meet with the Senate Democratic Caucus on Thursday to discuss gun violence, following several mass shootings around the country. The potential of passing any gun legislation through this Congress is fairly low, however, Democratic lawmakers are going to discuss options.
On Thursday, the House will vote on several bills, including the Secure the Border Act of 2023 (H.R. 2), codifies a program requiring migrants seeking asylum to stay in Mexico until their U.S. immigration court date. President Biden has already vowed to veto the House proposed border security legislation. The Trump Administration’s use of Title 42, a pandemic-era border restriction allowing the government the ability to turn away certain migrants at the border, is set to expire this week. In the upper chamber, the Senate will vote on L. Felice Gorordo's nomination as the United States Alternate Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Glenna Wright-Gallo to be Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the Department of Education.
For the remainder of the week, the House will hold several hearings, including two subcommittee hearings from the Science, Space, and Technology Committee: a hearing titled “Return on Unprecedented Investment: An Analysis of the Department of Energy’s Implementation of the IIJA, the IRA, and the CHIPS and Science Act;” and a hearing titled “Reauthorizing the U.S. Fire Administration and Fire Grant Programs: Evaluating Effectiveness and Preparedness for Modern Challenges.” The Senate will also hold various hearings, including an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on “Examine Opportunities for Congress to Reform the Permitting Process for Energy and Mineral Projects.”
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Resilient Airports Act
Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA-6)
Improves emergency and disaster response capabilities at airports nationwide, including those located in rural communities.
Secure the Border Act of 2023
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL-26)
A border security and immigration reform bill to address the ongoing crisis at our southern border and its implications.
Water Systems PFAS Liability Protection Act
Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Exempts certain entities from liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 with respect to releases of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and for other purposes.
Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to ensure community accountability for areas repeatedly damaged by floods, and for other purposes
Investing in Our Communities Act
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) & Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN-8)
Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reinstate advance refunding bonds. This bill reinstates the exclusion from gross income for interest on certain bonds issued to advance the refunding of a prior bond issue.
Transit to Trails Act
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) & Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA-34)
Establishes a program to award grants to entities that provide transportation connectors from critically underserved communities to green spaces, and for other purposes.
The FAA is reviewing our noise policy as part of our ongoing commitment to address aircraft noise.
July 31, 2023
Reduces plastic waste and other post-consumer materials in waterways and oceans, as directed by Congress in section 301 of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act.
June 16, 2023