Congress is in session for the last time in 2023 this week, with the House and Senate returning this evening. The to-do list of legislative items remains long, including aid to Ukraine and Israel, increased border security, the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and passing federal government funding past January 19 and February 2, 2024.
The major item that Congress will most likely act on before leaving for the holidays is the NDAA. Congress has passed an NDAA annually since 1961, one of the few major pieces of legislation to become law every year. The Senate will work first on the legislation, passing it as soon as Wednesday, followed by the House later this week. In a December 7 Dear Colleague letter, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the House and Senate conferees reached an agreement on the $886.3 billion FY24 NDAA (conference report to accompany H.R. 2670). The letter also mentions passing an extension of Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities through April 19, 2024 as part of the NDAA, which is currently set to expire at the end of the year. On FY24 government funding, Speaker Johnson said, “I do not intend to have the House consider any further short-term extensions.” However, he also acknowledges that the Fiscal Responsibility Act is “the law of the land” and “provides the framework from which we are negotiating final outcomes.” In response, Senate appropriators shared details on the impacts of a full-year stopgap. In a one-pager titled “Implications of a Date-Change, Full-Year CR,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said the idea that Speaker Johnson is proposing has never been done before and would result in major disruptions for all government agencies and the military.
The House will consider 14 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Promoting Resilient Buildings Act of 2023 (H.R. 5473), which amends some laws regarding disaster recovery and relief concerning the implementation of building codes; and the Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2023, Part II (H.R. 6503), which extends Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorities from December 31 to March 8, 2024; and the Support for Patients and Communities Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4531), which reauthorizes specific programs that provide for opioid use disorder prevention, recovery, and treatment. The House will also vote on two competing long-term FISA-related bills (H.R. 6570 & H.R. 6611); the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023 (H.R. 1147), which allows schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to offer flavored or unflavored whole, reduced-fat, and lactose-free milk, in addition to existing options; and the Ensuring Accountability in Agency Rulemaking Act (H.R. 357), which requires rules proposed by federal agencies to be signed and issued by an individual appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The House may also consider H. Res. 918, which would grant the House Judiciary, Oversight, and Ways and Means committees to continue their ongoing investigations into whether sufficient grounds exist to impeach President Joe Biden, in addition to granting the Judiciary Committee authority to transmit articles of impeachment or other recommendations. This week, the Senate will vote on several judicial and executive nominations, including: Richard Federico to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Tenth Circuit and Harry Coker to be National Cyber Director.
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several markups and hearings, including a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee markup on consideration of four bills including “The Modernizing Opioid Treatment Access Act (S. 644)”; a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup to consider 23 bills including “The Watershed Results Act (S. 2169)”; and a Senate Transportations-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on “Communities in Crisis: What Happens When Disaster Recovery Funds are Delayed.” The House will hold several markups and hearings, including a House Oversight and Accountability Cybersecurity Information Technology and Government Innovation Subcommittee markup on “A Stronger Workforce for America Act (H.R. 6655)”; a House Transportation Highways and Transit Subcommittee hearing on “Oversight of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: Modal Perspectives” and a House Transportation Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee hearing on “Water Resources Development Act of 2024.”
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Concrete and Asphalt Innovation Act of 2023
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)
Directs federal resources to encourage research, development, demonstration, and commercialization of low-emission concrete and asphalt technologies while also setting a strategic plan for government agency coordination.
Pregnant and Postpartum Women Treatment Reauthorization Act
Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)
Reauthorizes the program to support residential treatment programs for pregnant and postpartum women.
Workforce Housing Tax Credit (WHTC) Act
Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-19) & Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Increases the supply of affordable housing for middle-income families who earn too much to qualify for low-income affordable housing and not enough to afford housing near where they work.
MARKET CHOICE Act
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1)
Eliminates the gas tax in exchange for implementing a tax on greenhouse gas emissions, this initiative would diminish the detrimental impacts of such emissions while making critical investments in American infrastructure.
Kid PROOF Act
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-2)
Allows health care providers to purchase and distribute lethal means safety supplies – like lockboxes or safes – for children at risk of overdose or suicide.
Transforming Hiring in Rural Industries and Vital Economies (THRIVE) Act
Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8)
Permanently establishes a federal interagency council to coordinate investment in our nation’s rural areas, ensuring that the federal government maximizes its investments in rural communities.
Strengthening Rural Cooperatives and Communities Act
Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8)
Amends the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act to reauthorize rural cooperative development grants.
A Stronger Workforce for America Act
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5)
Makes critical improvements to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) that will expand the skills development provided under the law, strengthen the relationship between employers and the workforce system, and put more Americans on the pathway to successful careers.
Maintaining and Enhancing Hydroelectricity and River Restoration Act
Rep. Adam Smith (R-KS-3)
Extends a 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) to American hydroelectric investments to improve power production, provide environmental benefits, or remove outdated dam infrastructure through 2031.
Resilient Communities Act
Sen. Tammy Baldwin(D-WI)
Directs antidumping and countervailing duty revenue collected by Customs and Border Protection to a fund at the Commerce Department to support communities that have been injured by trade, including where there are companies facing layoffs, declining sales, or reduced shifts as a result of import competition.