Congress is back in session this week, with the House returning today and the Senate returning on Tuesday.
The House of Representatives has had no Speaker for 20 days, leaving the body paralyzed to act. There are currently nine Speaker candidates: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (Minn.), House Republican Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson (La.), House Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern (Okla.), Reps. Byron Donalds (Fla.), Austin Scott (Ga.), Jack Bergman (Mich.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Gary Palmer (Ala.), and Dan Meuser (Pa.). Tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET, the 224 current members of the House Republican Conference (including the GOP Delegates from Guam and American Samoa and the GOP Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico) will host an internal candidate forum. House Republicans will use ranked-choice voting on Tuesday morning to select their new Speaker nominee, following the failed Speaker bids of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.) and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (Ohio) over the past two weeks. The third iteration of voting on the House floor, where the nominee will need receive 217 votes to be elected Speaker, will begin as early as Tuesday evening. Chair Jordan (Ohio) lost his designation as the GOP nominee for Speaker on Friday after losing a secret ballot by a vote of 86-112 following three failed votes on the House floor over the course of four days last week. House Majority Whip Emmer is viewed by many observers as the frontrunner for the nomination.
The Senate will begin working this week on the Biden Administration’s $106 billion request for an emergency supplemental funding package, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The upper chamber will work to vote on a package including aid for Ukraine ($61.4 billion), Israel ($14.3 billion), border security ($13.6 billion), and humanitarian purposes ($9.15 billion). Including the aid in one package would be the most efficient legislative avenue, however, Democrats will face pushback from Senate Republicans who want to vote on several of the items separately. Added to the issue of how to resolve the supplemental request is that the House is currently without a Speaker, an issue with no end in sight. House Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC) said that House Appropriations Committee Chair Kay Granger (R-Texas) is working on a package for military aid for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan, and border security. Additionally, the Senate will continue considering the three-bill FY 2024 appropriations “minibus” package (Agriculture, Military Construction – Veterans Affairs, and Transportation – Housing and Urban Development spending bills), which the upper chamber began consideration of on September 12. Lawmakers have one remaining issue to resolve before moving forward with the minibus. Senate Appropriations Committee Vice-Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) expects the Senate to resolve the issue (which she declined to name) by this week and then hold a final vote on the minibus package.
If a new Speaker of the House is elected this week, the House will consider five suspension bills, including the Modernizing the Acquisition of Cybersecurity Experts Act of 2023 (H.R. 4502), allowing Federal agencies to establish educational requirements for certain cybersecurity positions in the competitive service. The House will also likely vote on two FY 2024 Appropriations bills, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (H.R. 4364) and the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act (H.R. 4394). The Senate will vote on the nominations of Michael Whitaker to be Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and Jessica Looman to be an Administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Budget Committee hearing on “Bottlenecks and Backlogs: How Climate Change Threatens Supply Chains;” and a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on “VA Accountability and Transparency: A Cornerstone of Quality Care and Benefits for Veterans.” The House will hold a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment hearing on “Water Resources Development Acts: Status of Past Provisions and Future Needs.”
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Facilitating Hazard Mitigation Projects Act
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI)
Requires the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to conduct an evaluation and submit to Congress a report on ways to reduce the complexity of the cost effectiveness requirements for hazard mitigation assistance.
Resilient Transit Act of 2023
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) & Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (R-NY)
Provides a dedicated stream of federal funding to strengthen resiliency of our nation’s public transportation systems.
Transit Emergency Relief Act
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA)
Improves the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Emergency Response (ER) Program into parity with the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) program that serves the same purpose for America’s highways and road infrastructure.
Rural Health Care Facilities Revitalization Act
Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8)
Authorizes rural health facilities to use federal agricultural funds to ensure their long-term financial stability.
Voluntary Streamlined Permitting and Inspection legislation
Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV-3) & Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Requires the Secretary of Energy to further develop and support the adoption of a voluntary streamlined permitting and inspection process for authorities having jurisdiction over the permitting of qualifying distributed energy systems.
Water Quality Certification Improvement Act of 2023
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to make changes with respect to water quality certification.
Fire Safe Electrical Corridors Act
Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24)
Allows the U.S. Forest Service to approve the removal of hazardous trees near power lines on federal land without requiring a timber sale, easing a serious threat that has in the past been a major cause of destructive wildfires.
Promoting Reduction of Emissions Through Landscaping Equipment Act
Rep. Luis Correa (D-CA-46)
Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to establish a business tax credit for the purchase of zero-emission electric lawn, garden, and landscape equipment.
FEMA aims to improve the determination that a programmatic/class review is appropriate for six categories of activities in specific grant programs that do not have an adverse impact individually or cumulatively on floodplain values placing property and persons at risk.
November 3, 2023
FEMA aims to improve the management and administration of its preparedness grant programs to continue to assist the nation in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, prepare for, protect against, and respond to terrorist attacks and other hazards.
November 7, 2023
Assistance to fund quick-turnaround high-reward, scalable solutions intended to improve education outcomes for all students.
November 13, 2023
Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees
November 7, 2023
Updates and clarifies the requirements for use of Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts by eligible non-Federal entities, such as State and local governments.
November 17, 2023
The guidance would implement the amendments made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 with respect to the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund established under the American Rescue Plan Act.
November 20, 2023
The new training program creates a cooperative agreement to help medical professionals better prevent, recognize, treat, and manage pesticide-related illness.
November 24, 2023
FTA / DOT
The guidance provides a framework for agencies to consider the effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated GHG emissions. It also advises agencies to assess the effects of climate change on their proposed actions.
November 24, 2023
Implement conditions in the Act that seek to prevent funding provided through the program from being used to directly or indirectly benefit foreign countries of concern.
November 24, 2023
OSTP seeks information to assist in developing a coordinated Federal strategy to identify and address gaps in science, data, and research related to environmental justice. Information received through this RFI will inform the biennial Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.