The House and Senate are in session this week, returning Tuesday after the Yom Kippur holiday. Lawmakers have just five days left to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) until federal government funding runs out beginning the first day of Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, on October 1. Congressional leaders must maximize every legislative moment as the pressure mounts to pass a short-term extensions of government funding, in addition to temporarily authorizing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Farm Bill programs. As it stands, a government shutdown seems likely as Congress has been unable to resolve differences on funding levels.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif) recently held a GOP conference call to share the plan for the upcoming week. Ultimately, the Speaker wants to pass stopgap funding to give the House more time to pass additional FY24 spending bills and improve the House GOP’s leverage with the Senate when deciding full-year funding. The Speaker plans to take the base text of the previously introduced Continuing Appropriations and Border Security Enhancement Act, 2024 and potentially extend the length of the CR from October 31 to November 15, 2023. The House has scheduled four FY 2024 spending bills for consideration this week. House Republicans have set up debate for the FY24 Defense, Homeland Security, State-Foreign Operations, and Agriculture-Rural Development spending bills, with a total of $3.8 billion in cuts to agriculture and foreign aid programs. It is uncertain if Republican leadership will have the necessary 217 votes to adopt the rule covering debate and amendments to the bills. Tentatively, the House plans to debate and adopt the rule on Tuesday evening, debate and consideration of 440 amendments on the four bills over three days, and then final votes on all four bills on Friday. The most conservative members of the Republican Conference have stated that they will not vote for a CR and are demanding the lower chamber make additional significant cuts to the spending bills and continue voting on the remaining FY24 spending bills.
In the upper chamber, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will move to use the House-passed Securing Growth and Robust Leadership in American Aviation Act (H.R. 3935), the House version of the five-=year FAA reauthorization bill. The Senate’s own version of the FAA bill has stalled in committee, and Leader Schumer will use the House version of the bill (minus the House-passed language) as a vehicle to pass a CR to extend programs and include disaster relief assistance and Ukraine aid. Failing to extend the FAA’s programs would lead to a furlough of employees, and most airport construction projects would be forced to halt. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said the FAA will most likely receive a three-month extension this week. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said that he believes the House will consider a standalone bill extending certain FAA authorities. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that the U.S. economy would lose as much as $140 million per day if a federal government shutdown were to occur. The Senate may choose to extend government funding through at least December. Senate Republicans, including Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have maintained that he will not vote for a continuing resolution that includes additional assistance to Ukraine.
The House will consider two suspension bills, including the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2024 VA Extenders Legislation (S. 2795), which extends Department of Veterans Affairs authorities related to medical treatment, education benefits, and home loan fees. The House will also vote on the Protecting Hunting Heritage and Education Act (H.R. 5110), allowing elementary schools to use federal aid for archery, hunting, other shooting sports, or culinary arts.
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing on “The State of Flood Insurance in America.”
The House will hold a Transportation & Infrastructure hearing on “Clean Water Infrastructure Financing: State and Local Perspectives and Recent Developments;” and a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on “VA’s Fiduciary Program: Ensuring Veterans’ Benefits are Properly Managed.”
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Healthy at Home Act of 2023
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT-2) & Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Improves the health, safety, and habitability of our country’s federally-assisted housing.
Justice for Angel Families Act
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX-22)
Authorizes grants for crime victims to be distributed to angel families,
Flood Insurance Affordability Act
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL)
Requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offer an option to pay their flood insurance premiums monthly, rather than in a larger lump sum once a year.
End Diaper Need Act of 2023
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
Assists low-income families to address diaper need by providing targeted funding for states, territories and other eligible entities
Civilian Climate Corps for Jobs and Justice Act
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY-14) & Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 to establish a Civilian Climate Corps to help communities respond to climate change and transition to a clean economy.
Collision Avoidance Systems Act of 2023
Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL-11)
Clarifies certain regulations to allow for the installation of pulsating light systems for high-mounted stop lamps,
NO TIME TO Waste Act
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1) & Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
Supports food recovery and preventing food waste through research, public-private partnerships, and enhanced government coordination.
Service Starts at Home Act
Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ-3)
This bill would help students serve in their hometowns and provide hands-on learning opportunities throughout the country by creating a grant program through the Department of Education to support paid internships at the local government level.
Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-28) & Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Directs the U.S. Secretaries of Treasury, Energy, and Defense to develop and issue $50 billion in Clean Energy Victory Bonds that support energy efficiency, solar, wind, geothermal, and electric vehicle efforts.
Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Amendments of 2023
Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA-8)
Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014 and restore WIFIA funding and financing eligibility to state entities and non-federal cost shares in federally involved projects.
US Army Corps of Engineers / DoD
The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directs the Secretary of the Army to implement a pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged
October 20, 2023
NOAA seeks information on how to enhance their delivery of climate data, information, science, and tools and ensure that this delivery is equitable.
October 21, 2023
FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.
November 7, 2023
Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees
November 7, 2023
Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.
November 17, 2023
The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.
November 20, 2023
The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.
November 24, 2023
FTA / DOT
The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.
November 24, 2023
Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.
November 24, 2023