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Federal Legislative Update - Week of December 4, 2023

Congress is in session this week, with the Senate and the House returning today. While Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) earlier this month to keep the federal government open through January 19 and February 2, 2024, lawmakers still have considerable work to do to close out the year.


The House will consider ten bills and one resolution under suspension of the rules, including the DOE and USDA Interagency Research Act (H.R. 1713), which directs the Energy and Agriculture departments to collaborate on research and development in a wide range of areas, including artificial intelligence, advanced crop science, grid modernization, and wildfire prevention. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the One Seat Ride Act (H.R. 1547), which requires the Department of Transportation to submit a study to Congress on the costs and benefits of commuter rail passenger transportation that doesn’t involve transfers; the Housing our Military Veterans Effectively (HOME) Act of 2023 (H.R. 3848), which increases maximum rates the Veterans Affairs Department pays entities that provide housing and services to veterans experiencing homelessness; and the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act (H.R. 3848), which directs the Veterans Affairs Department to expand options for long-term home and community services for eligible veterans. The House may also consider the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales Act of 2023 (H.R. 4468), which prohibits the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing, implementing, or enforcing a proposed rule with respect to emissions from vehicles.


Congress is currently negotiating the longstanding bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Still a vote for potential passage will need to take a back seat to lawmakers focus on a supplemental aid package to Ukraine, Israel, the Indo-Pacific region, and southern border policy. The Federal Aviation Authorization will most likely result in another stopgap extension. The current bill is extended through March 8, allowing for conference negotiations between the House and Senate. Some lawmakers argue that even if the Senate passes its version of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2023 (S.1939) before the year's end, there will still not be enough time for Congress to conference the bill before the deadline. The Senate this week will vote on several judicial and executive nominations, including: Irma Ramirez to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit; Loren AliKhan to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia; and Elizabeth Richard to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism, with the rank and status of Ambassador at Large.


For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several hearings, including a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “IIJA Investments in Habitat and Ecosystem Restoration, Pollinators, and Wildlife Crossings”; a House Oversight and Accountability Cybersecurity Information Technology and Government Innovation Subcommittee hearing on “White House Policy on AI”; and a House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee hearing on “Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.” 

Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

H.R. 6536

Reforming Energy-Efficient Buildings and Appliances Tax Exemptions (REBATE) Act

Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL-9)

Amends the Inflation Reduction Act and allow local governments to receive federal grants to carry out high-efficiency electric home rebate programs.


S. 3364


Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

Amends the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to authorize the use of certain grants to prevent suicide or overdose by children, adolescents, and young adults


H.R. 6518

Workforce DATA Act

Rep. Donald Davis (D-NC-1)

Requires the Secretary of Labor to take initiatives to measure the impact of automation on the workforce in order to inform workforce development strategies.


H.R. 6548

A bill to provide more flexibility for workforce training programs

Rep. John Duarte (R-CA-13)

Amends the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to provide local areas more flexibility in the use of funds for incumbent workforce training programs.


H.R. 6459

Fairness in Airspace Includes Residents (F-AIR) Act

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA-16)

Amends title 49, United States Code, to direct the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to adjust certain requirements with respect to sovereignty and use of airspace.


H.R. 6546

Bill regarding fish held in captivity or a controlled environment

Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-OR-2)

Amends the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to allow certain activities to be carried out with regard to certain fish held in captivity or a controlled environment.


S. 3364


Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM)

Amends the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to authorize the use of certain grants to prevent suicide or overdose by children, adolescents, and young adults


S. 3378

The Farmers Freedom Act of 2023

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)

Requires the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers to use a certain definition for the term "prior converted cropland."


S. 3375

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Expansion Act and the Accelerating Small Business Growth Act

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)

Raises the annual funding cap of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Supportive Services Program, replicate the program at the Federal Transit Agency (FTA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and create a grant program to help transportation agencies work with underserved businesses looking to improve growth and competitiveness for contracts.


S. 3378

Rural Energy Equity Act

Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT)

To improve and authorize strong funding levels for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The bill would make REAP more accessible for smaller rural businesses and farms and make the program more climate-friendly..