The Senate returns this week from its month-long August recess. The House will be back in session beginning Tuesday of next week. Lawmakers face a lengthy to-do list with limited legislative days ahead of a potential federal government shutdown beginning October 1.
The Senate has 16 legislative days, and the House only has 11, to address substantive policy issues and agree on spending levels for government funding. In addition to government funding, Congress faces expirations to various Federal Aviation Administration and Farm Bill authorizations while also needing to conference the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) shared a Dear Colleague letter outlining the upper chamber’s priorities for September. Majority Leader Schumer plans to bring several spending bills to a floor vote by mid-September. As part of a minibus, senators will likely vote on the Military Construction-VA, Transportation-HUD, and Agriculture-FDA Appropriations bills. “The Senate will work to get as much done as possible in September. To avoid a government shutdown, the House should follow the Senate’s lead and pass their appropriations bills in a bipartisan way,” said Schumer. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters that the farm bill will receive an extension as Congress has not made sufficient progress on the reauthorization. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is preparing to finalize the Senate’s version of the bill that “can be signed into law by the end of the calendar year,” she said. The White House is also seeking $40 billion in supplemental funding, with $24 billion in aid to Ukraine and $16 billion in natural disaster funding. This week, the Senate will vote on Philip Jefferson to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal System; Gwynne Wilcox to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board; Lisa Cook and Adriana Kugler to be Members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; and Anna Gomez to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission.
When the House returns next week, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will attempt to work with the most conservative members of the Republican Conference while negotiating with the White House and Senate to avoid a government shutdown. To do so, McCarthy plans to extend government funding at enacted FY 2023 funding levels for approximately four to six weeks, likely until November 1 or 15. In a recent private call with House Republican lawmakers, the Speaker urged support for the short-term spending deal to set up a later negotiation to include spending cuts and policy changes, including border security and immigration policy. On Appropriations, the House could begin floor debate on the FY 2024 State-Foreign Operations, Homeland Security, and Defense spending bills upon returning the week of September 11. Currently, the FY24 Defense Appropriations bill has over 300 amendments awaiting consideration by the House Rules Committee next week. The Speaker must also decide on whether various House committees will pursue an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Many believe the inquiry will occur, but prospects of ensuring the necessary amount of votes remain uncertain.
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the “Challenges in the Property Insurance Market and the Impact on Consumers;” and an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing examining “Implementing IIJA: Perspectives on The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, Part II.” In addition, on Tuesday, Rhode Island and Utah are holding special primary elections for current or soon-to-be vacant House seats in Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district and Utah’s 2nd congressional district.
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD) Reauthorization Act
Rep. David Joyce (R-OH-14)
Reauthorizes the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, which enables wildlife and habitat conservation in all 50 states and territories, and the Multinational Species Conservation Fund
START Housing Act of 2023
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1
Reauthorizes and expands the pilot program to help individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder become stably housed, and for other purposes.
Economic Empowerment Through Predevelopment Act
Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA-2) & Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)
Authorizes the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to make grants or cooperative agreements available for planning and predevelopment of infrastructure projects to support communities across the country.
Voluntary Public Access Improvement Act of 2023
Rep. Debbie Dingel (D-MI-6) & Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)
Provides state and tribal governments competitive grants to encourage owners and operators of privately-held land (i.e., farm, ranch, and forest land) to allow public access for hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-dependent recreation.
Connecting Our Neighbors to Networks and Ensuring Competitive Telecommunications (CONNECT) Act of 2023
Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-CO-7)
Reforms the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ReConnect Loan and Grant Program making it easier for small providers to apply to this program, and ensures federal funding reaches rural communities faster by shortening required permitting deadlines.
EQIP Improvement Act of 2023
Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT-5)
Amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to make adjustments to the environmental quality incentives program, and for other purposes.
The Safeguarding Our Levees Act
Rep. Josh Harder (R-CA-9)
Protects communities from severe flooding and get damaged levees in flood-prone areas fixed as quickly as possible.
Rural Forest Markets Act
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME-1)
Assists help small-scale, family forest owners and states forestry agencies access new economic opportunities and develop solutions to mitigate the climate crisis.
The Domestic Water Protection Act of 2023
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-3)
Imposes an excise tax on water use during droughts, and for other purposes.
The DOE encourages project developers and others in industry to pursue the highest levels of safety, environmental stewardship, accountability, community engagement, and societal benefits in carbon management projects.
September 11, 2023
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