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Federal Legislative Update - Week of May 13th, 2024

House and Senate Action

Neither chamber is in session today but both will return to action on Tuesday.

The House will consider a number of measures on the suspension calendar (requires 2/3 majority for passage), including giving final approval to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) renewal (H.R. 3935). It should be noted that the Senate cleared the legislation Thursday evening and also passed a one-week extension, which gives the House until Friday to get this done. A section-by-section summary of the FAA agreement can be found here.

Another bill on the suspension calendar and endorsed by NSDC – the Wastewater Infrastructure Pollution Prevention and Environmental Safety (WIPPES) Act (H.R. 2964) – would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue regulations requiring entities responsible for the labeling or retail packaging of certain pre-moistened, nonwoven wipes (e.g., baby wipes, cleaning wipes, or personal care wipes) to label such products clearly and conspicuously with the phrase “Do Not Flush”. The

In addition, and in honor of National Police Week in DC, House GOP leaders have placed a number of crime-related bills on the floor. This includes legislation (S. 546) that would expand the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant program to support hiring activities by law enforcement agencies experiencing declines in officer recruitment applications. It also would establish a new program to encourage voluntary partnerships between schools and police departments to foster a stronger local pipeline for law enforcement careers.

The full House agenda is available here.

Senate Commerce Committee to Vote on Bill Extending Affordable Connectivity Program

On Thursday, May 16, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee is scheduled to vote on comprehensive legislation that would modernize the nation's spectrum policy. Among other things, the bill (S. 4207) would provide $7 billion in new funding to extend the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). To pay for the ACP extension, the bill would reinstate the FCC's lapsed authority to auction off spectrum bands to commercial users. It should be noted that April was the last month that ACP subscribers received the full $30 benefit. In May, program participants are receiving a $14 discount off their home internet subscriptions, with the FCC expected to exhaust all ACP funding by next month.

House, Senate Ag Leaders Release Competing Farm Bill Proposals

On May 10, House Agriculture Committee Chairman GT Thompson (R-PA) released a more detailed section-by-section summary of his Farm Bill reauthorization package. More information on the proposal, including draft text, is expected to be available in the coming days, with plans to consider the bill in committee next week. Across Capitol Hill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has also posted an extensive outline of her proposal.

Relevant Hearings and Markups

House Natural Resources – On Monday afternoon, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight field hearing in Hayward, Wisconsin, to examine barriers that sportsmen and women face accessing federal lands and legislative solutions that would promote greater hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities. On Wednesday morning, the subcommittee will hear from the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service on the president’s fiscal year 2025 budget request. On Thursday morning, the full committee will receive testimony from Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), on CEQ’s fiscal year 2025 budget request. More information on these hearings can be found here.

House Education and the Workforce – On Wednesday morning, lawmakers will meet to examine the policies and priorities of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additional details on the hearing can be found here.

House Appropriations – On Thursday morning, the Subcommittee on Financial Services will review the fiscal year 2025 budget request of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr are slated to testify. More information can be accessed here.

Senate Appropriations – On Wednesday morning, the Subcommittee on Energy and Water will review the fiscal year 2025 budget requests for the Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. On Wednesday afternoon, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science will hear from Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on the department’s fiscal year 2025 budget request. A full list of committee hearings can be found here.

Senate Budget – On Wednesday morning, the committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Budgeting for the Storm: Climate Change and the Costs to National Security.” More details on the hearing can be accessed here.

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation – On Thursday morning, the committee will consider more than a dozen bills within the panel’s jurisdiction, including legislation (S. 275) that would require a more thorough vetting and verification process for internet service providers seeking to participate in the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) high-cost programs. The panel will also consider a measure (S 3788) that would reauthorize a law that helps communities prepare for and respond to landslides. Additional information on the markup is available here.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources – This week, the committee will meet to examine the President’s budget request for the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service. The committee’s full schedule can be found here.

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – On Wednesday morning, the committee will consider a slate of bills, including legislation (H.R. 6249) that would ensure that individuals with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities and their families have access to resources to safely recover after a major disaster strikes. More information on the markup can be accessed here.

Senate Judiciary – On Thursday morning, the committee will take up bipartisan legislation (S. 930) that would expand access to federal support for the families of firefighters and first responders who pass away from cancer caused by carcinogenic exposure during their service. The bill would also extend disability benefits in cases where they become permanently and totally disabled due to cancer. A separate measure (S. 4235) on the agenda would reauthorize a grant program that provides funding for law enforcement family-support services. Finally, senators will consider a bill (S. 1306) to reauthorize the COPS program. The full committee agenda can be viewed here.