Federal Legislative Update: Week of March 21, 2022
Only the Senate is in session this week.
This week, the Senate will turn its attention to the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Associate Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court. The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet today through Thursday on Judge Jackson’s nomination. Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) outlined the Committee’s process with introductions and opening statements on Monday, questions on Tuesday and Wednesday, and testimony from the American Bar Association and others on Thursday. “As I have said from the time that Justice Breyer announced his retirement, the Committee will undertake a fair and timely process to consider Judge Jackson’s nomination,” said Durbin. If confirmed, Judge Jackson would become the first black woman and public defender to serve on the Supreme Court.
The Senate will also vote today on the America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521), which would aid domestic innovation initiatives and offer billions for semiconductor manufacturing. Following the vote, the Senate will replace the language with the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (S. 1260), and the House and Senate will conference the two bills to work out any differences.
On Friday, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) released guidance for FY 2023 appropriations, including Community Project Funding requests (earmarks). Chair DeLauro raised the Member project request limit to 15 (up from 10) for each House district. The Senate has yet to release guidance for the process. Many expect the White House to release the President’s annual budget request on March 28 or April 4. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said, “The budget coming down from the President is necessary. I’m hopeful that will happen either late this week or next week.”
After pulling the $15 billion in COVID-19 preparedness funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act (P.L. 117-103), the House was slated to vote on a package last week but held off as Democratic leadership worked to get plans in order. The White House issued a statement on the necessity of funds for present and future pandemic response and the potential challenges without additional investment. Following inaction from the House, lawmakers will work to consider pandemic funding after this week’s recess.
The House GOP will travel to Florida this week for their retreat. Republicans will devise an agenda for the remainder of the 117th Congress, discuss subsequent strategy for midterm elections, and consider prospects if they win back the House.
For the remainder of this week, the Senate will hold several committees hearings, most notably the Judiciary Committee hearings on “The Nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States;” a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine “Improving Health Equity and Outcomes by Addressing Health Disparities;” and an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing to discuss “Promoting American Energy Security by Facilitating Investments and Innovation in Climate Solutions.”
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