The House and Senate are in session this week.
The House will consider 16 bills under suspension of the rules, including a vote on the Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation Technical Corrections Act (HR 5673), which revises provisions of the hazard mitigation revolving loan fund program, including by requiring capitalization grant recipients to carry out the latest two published editions of relevant building codes, specifications, and standards. The House will vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (HR 3617), which decriminalizes and removes marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances. The House may also vote on the Affordable Insulin Now Act (HR 6833), which caps the out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35 per month. The Senate Judiciary Committee meets this afternoon to consider Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination to the Supreme Court and six other nominations. Many expect the panel to hold over the Jackson nomination until next Monday, April 4 as GOP members will use the Committee’s rules for a one-week delay. A final vote on Judge Brown’s lifetime nomination should be held on the Senate floor by Friday, April 8.
Today, the Biden Administration released the President’s $5.8 trillion Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget. In a statement, President Joe Biden said this budget “sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world, and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America.” Key items highlighted in the budget include: $31 billion in additional defense spending (up from $813 billion in FY 22), $10.6 billion for global health security, including COVID-19 funding, and $32 billion in funding for crime prevention. President Biden also plans to reduce the federal budget deficit by increasing taxes on the “ultra-rich” and corporations. Notably, the budget serves as a suggestion from the White House to Congress and outlines the Administration's priorities. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will hold hearings with Cabinet secretaries and the heads of federal departments and agencies to discuss the FY23 budget over the coming weeks and months.
Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) continued negotiations on new COVID-19 relief package guidelines. One of the main sticking points is accountability over “unspent” funds from previous pandemic spending. Sen. Romney said Thursday, “I got a proposal from them, and we've got a counterproposal we're working on with our leadership.” The White House hopes Congress will pass legislation for COVID-19 spending, noting reductions in treatments and pandemic research. Lawmakers removed $15.6 billion in funds prior to the FY22 omnibus spending package being enacted into law on March 15. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) expects the House to take up the COVID supplemental the week of April 4.
On Monday, the Senate will vote on the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (S. 1260), which would aid domestic innovation initiatives and offer billions for semiconductor manufacturing. This action will amend the House’s version of the bill, the America COMPETES Act (HR 4521), and begin the formal conference process between the two chambers. The negotiations could start later this week with lawmakers hoping to resolve differences on the package to aid U.S. high-tech research and manufacturing to compete with China.
For the remainder of this week, the House will hold several committee hearings, including a Science, Space, and Technology subcommittee hearing on “The New Normal: Preparing for and Adapting to the Next Phase of COVID-19;” an Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the “FY 2023 Budget Request for the Department of Health and Human Services;” and an Agriculture subcommittee hearing on “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Horticulture and Urban Agriculture.” Several Senate committees will also hold hearings, including a Budget Committee hearing to discuss “The President's Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Proposal;” and a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing to discuss “Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021.”
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