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Federal Legislative Update - Week of November 13th, 2023

Congress is back in session this week, with the House and the Senate returning today. The federal government will shut down on Saturday, November 18 at 12:01 am, absent congressional passage of another short-term spending bill. While prospects of a government shutdown are low, the House and Senate must work quickly to ensure the government remains funded.


On Saturday, the House Republican majority, led by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), introduced their version of a stopgap spending measure. Speaker Johnson will likely place the legislation on the House floor for a vote on Tuesday. The Furthering Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act, 2024 (H.R. 6363) features a two-step “laddered CR,” which includes two separate funding deadlines, Friday, January 19, 2024 and Friday, February 2, 2024. The laddered CR would extend funding through Jan. 19 for federal agencies covered by the following four appropriations bills: Agriculture-FDA, Energy and Water, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD. The other eight spending bills would receive an extension of funding through Feb. 2. The spending measure would also extend expiring 2018 Farm Bill programs for one year, through September 30, 2024, while the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would be extended through Feb. 2 and other expiring health programs would be extended through Jan. 19 and/or Feb. 2. The package does not include the Biden Administration’s emergency supplemental funding requests from October, including $106 billion for Israel, Ukraine, and the U.S.-Mexico border. Speaker Johnson has told members of the House Republican Conference that if the “laddered CR” fails, the chamber would move to pass a 1-year CR.


The House may also vote later this week on the chamber’s version of the FY 2024 Labor-HHS-Education (H.R. 5894), Commerce-Justice-Science (H.R. 5893), and Transportation-HUD (H.R. 4820) spending bills. However, the House was supposed to consider and vote on its FY24 Transportation-HUD and Financial Services-General Government spending bills last week, but withdrew them from floor consideration when it became clear that there was not the votes needed to pass each of them. A similar dynamic may occur again with the three aforementioned FY24 spending bills.


The Senate is working on a stopgap funding plan of its own that would keep the government funded until Jan. 19. Many expect the legislation to drop elements of the supplemental funding request as details shifted over the weekend. Democrats and Republicans in the upper chamber are tying border security and immigration provisions to Ukraine aid. Without having worked out the details, the Senate is likely to hold off on adding in the funds to allow more time to negotiate over details of the package. The Senate’s version of the short-term spending bill would most likely include several extensions, including the Farm Bill, NFIP, and health care programs. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to the Removing Extraneous Loopholes Insuring Every Veteran Emergency (RELIEVE) Act (H.R. 815), which would serve as the legislative vehicle for the Senate’s version of the CR. The Senate will also vote to confirm Ana de Alba to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit.


The House version of the stopgap funding bill includes an extension of the Farm Bill through Sept. 30, 2024. Democratic and Republican negotiators Senate Agriculture Committee Leaders Debbie Stabenow (D- Mich.) and John Boozman (R- Ark.) issued a joint statement with House Ag Committee Leaders Glenn “GT” Thompson (R- Pa.) and David Scott (D- Ga.) about the deal that would provide funding to all 20 farm bill programs set to lapse in the coming year. The leaders of the respective House and Senate Agriculture Committees are committed to “passing a 5-year Farm Bill.” Speaker Johnson is facing pushback from members within his party over the proposed one-year extension.


Along with a vote on the CR, the House will consider nine suspension bills, including votes on the Debbie Smith Act of 2023 (H.R. 1105), which provides law enforcement agencies and crime labs across the country with the resources they need to help improve DNA collection and analysis, eliminate the rape kit backlog, and enhance state and local prosecutors' capacity. The House may also take up a House Resolution impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, for high crimes and misdemeanors; House Democrats are expected to force a tabling of consideration of this impeachment resolution to prevent a vote from taking place.


For the remainder of the week, the House will hold several hearings, including an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on “Clean Power Plan 2.0: EPA’s Effort to Jeopardize Reliable and Affordable Energy for States;” a Natural Resources Subcommittee legislative hearing on “H.R. 5770 (Rep. Neguse), “Water Data Improvement Act.” The Senate will also hold several hearings, including an Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee hearing on “Innovation in American Agriculture: Leveraging Technology and Artificial Intelligence;” an Environment & Public Works Subcommittee hearing on “Challenges and Opportunities to Facilitate Wildlife Movement and Improve Migration Corridors;” an Environment & Public Works Committee hearing on “Opportunities in Industrial Decarbonization: Delivering Benefits for the Economy and the Climate;” and a Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Subcommittee hearing on “Examining Federal COVID-era Spending and Preventing Future Fraud.” Additionally, Representative-elect Gabe Amo will be sworn in on Monday evening after winning the Rhode Island 1st Congressional District special election last Tuesday. Amo made history by becoming the first black candidate in Rhode Island elected to Congress.


Bills and Regulations of Interest to You

H.R. 6142

Think DIFFERENTLY About Emergencies Act

Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19)

Amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to establish a last acre program.


S. 3246

Building Safer Streets Act

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA)

Provides for consideration of all modes of transportation and all road users in certain highway and transit programs.


H.R. 6274

One Door to Work Act

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT-4)

Amends the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to establish a State innovation demonstration authority.


H.R. 6194

Recidivism Reduction Transparency Act

Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH-11)

Modify the report requirements under the Adult and Juvenile Offender State and Local Reentry Demonstration Projects grant.


H.R. 6308

Farm to School Act

Rep. Chris Pappas (D-VI-At Large)

Amends the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to reauthorize the farm to school program.


H.R. 6297

Payer State Transparency Act

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL-11)

Assesses the State by State impact of Federal taxation and spending.


H.R. 6311 & S. 3261

National Coordination on Adaptation and Resilience for Security (NCARS) Act

Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL-27) & Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE)

Requires the Federal Government to produce a national adaptation and resilience strategy.


H.R. 6318

Public Housing for the 21st Century Act

Rep. Rashida Talib (D-MI-12)

Requires the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to identify and make available information regarding best practices utilizing mixed-income, publicly owned housing to increase the supply of affordable housing.


S. 3259

Peer Support Services Center of Excellence Act

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize and expand technical assistance and support for recovery community organizations and peer support networks.