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Federal Legislative Update: Week of June 13, 2022

Congressional Outlook

Congress is in session this week.

The action driving the week is a bipartisan agreement on a “framework” for a gun-control package. The deal agreed to by a group of 20 senators (10 Democrats and 10 Republicans), led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), would feature the most significant changes to federal gun laws since the assault weapons ban of 1994. Specifically, the package would aid states in setting up their own “red flag” laws, provide billions in funding for mental health and school safety resources, close the “boyfriend loophole,” add limits to illegal weapons trafficking, enhance background checks for buyers under 21, increase scrutiny on gun sellers evading licensing requirements, and other measures. The joint statement from the working group of 20 senators said of the deal, “our plan saves lives while also protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.” The framework is said to have the 10 Senate Republican votes needed to reach the 60-vote threshold to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, and some speculate the number could grow to as high as 20. The announcement on Sunday marks a critical first step, and now lawmakers must write and unveil the text of the legislation, expected in the next few days. To pass this legislation before the July 4th recess, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will need to bring the bill to the floor by the end of this week to clear all procedural hurdles.

The House will vote on five bills under suspension of the rules, including the Small State and Rural Rescue Act (H.R. 7211), which expands and codifies the responsibilities of FEMA’s Small State and Rural Advocate when helping state and local officials access federal disaster aid. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2022 (H.R. 2773), which makes state, local, and tribal governments eligible for funding to support wildlife recovery and conservation efforts; the Financial Services Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Economic Justice Act (H.R. 2543), which requires financial institutions and federal banking regulators to disclose their diversity practices and take additional steps to foster equity and inclusion; and the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act (HR 7606), which addresses food and fuel inflation and meat industry consolidation; the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2022 (H.R. 2773), which makes state, local, and tribal governments eligible for funding to support wildlife recovery and conservation efforts.   The Senate will continue consideration of the House-passed Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2021 (HR 3967), which addresses health care matters for veterans exposed to toxic substances during their military service.

 The House Appropriations Committees will begin marking up the 12 annual government funding bills this week. Starting Wednesday, six of the 12 bills will receive a markup, including the Defense, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-VA, Agriculture-FDA, Homeland Security, and Financial Services spending bills. The bill text should be released 24 hours before the Subcommittee markup. For the remainder of the week, the House and Senate will hold several committee hearings, including a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on “Short And Long Term Solutions To Extreme Drought In The Western U.S.;” and a House Agriculture Committee hearing on “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Stakeholder Perspectives on Non-SNAP USDA Nutrition Programs.” Tomorrow, the states of Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina will hold primary elections. 

Last Week

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