The House and Senate are in session this week. The House returns Tuesday after 47 days off, while the Senate is back in session today.
Government funding remains the crucial legislative item that Congress must address by September 30. Lawmakers face expirations to various Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Farm Bill authorizations while also needing to conference the FY 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)
Reports are circulating that many House Republicans believe that a shutdown is growing in possibility. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) leadership will face a test as he hopes to pass a stopgap funding bill to provide more time for Congress to pass the FY 2024 appropriations bills. This week, the House will vote on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2024 (H.R. 4365), providing $886 billion to the Department of Defense. The Rules Committee will first work through over 300 amendments on Tuesday evening. Passage of the FY24 Defense spending bill this week followed by the likely consideration of the FY24 Homeland Security spending bill next week could assist the Speaker’s case and set up a tense negotiation between the House and Senate. Speaker McCarthy will address the Republican Conference on Wednesday to discuss a strategy to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which could mean potentially courting a large contingent of House Democrats. Many believe this approach could draw the ire of the House Freedom Caucus and other conservatives. Additionally, the White House is seeking $40 billion in supplemental funding, including $24 billion in aid to Ukraine, which House Republican leaders will likely only include in exchange for additional funding for southern border security.
Regarding the expiring authorizations, specifically the Farm Bill and the FAA, Congress will opt to pass temporary provisions for expiring programs. Leaders on both sides have cited the need to extend the Farm Bill as Congress has not made sufficient progress on its reauthorization. House Agriculture Committee Chair G.T. Thompson (R-Penn.) will delay the release of the Farm Bill text until House Republican leadership plans floor time for the bill. That makes it unlikely for the House to release the text by September, and a release by November is also in doubt. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) shared a similar outlook on the bill, citing, “It’s going to be a while” before the Senate text is released. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will also need to receive an extension to continue the program’s authority for FEMA to provide new flood insurance contracts and maintain available funds at $30.43 billion instead of $1 billion. The extension would mark the 26th short-term NFIP extension since September 2017. The FAA will also likely need an extension. While the House passed its version of the bill by a vote of 351-69 in late July, the Senate’s version is still awaiting a markup after issues related to pilot training requirements, DCA flights, and consumer protection derailed the Senate Commerce Committee’s progress in June. Another critical legislative item that will require the attention and time of Congress is the conferencing of the FY24 NDAA.
The House will consider 7 suspension bills, including the Emergency Wildfire Fighting Technology Act of 2023 (H.R. 3389), requiring the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to evaluate the system that uses airplanes to drop water containers and other fire retardants on wildfires. The House will also vote on the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act (HR 1435), which prohibits the EPA from granting waivers for vehicles emissions laws to states that directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new gas-powered cars. This week, the Senate will begin consideration of a FY 2024 “minibus” appropriations package (utilizing the House-passed FY24 Military Construction-VA bill text [H.R. 4366] as a vehicle) consisting of the FY24 Military Construction-VA, Agriculture-Rural Development, and Transportation-HUD Appropriations bills approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in June and July. The Senate will also vote on Tanya Bradsher to be Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs; and Jeffrey Cummings to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.
For the remainder of the week, the Senate will hold several hearings, including a Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the “Housing Supply and Innovation;” and an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing examining “Examining the Effects of Extreme Heat and Weather on Transportation.” The House will hold an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on “Keeping the Lights On: Enhancing Reliability and Efficiency to Power American Homes” and an Oversight and Accountability hearing on “The Inflation Reduction Act: A Year in Review.”
Bills and Regulations of Interest to You
Jobs in the Woods Act
Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR-5)
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a grant program to address forestry workforce development needs, and for other purposes.
Modernizing Agricultural and Manufacturing Bonds Act
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify certain rules applicable to qualified small issue manufacturing bonds, to expand certain exceptions to the private activity bond rules for first-time farmers, and for other purposes.
Small Farm Conservation Act
Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO-8)
Amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a small farm EQIP subprogram under the environmental quality incentives program, and for other purposes.
Save Our Airports Reporting Act
Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-27)
Requires the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to submit to Congress progress reports on the development and implementation of a national plan to transition to the use of a fluorine-free firefighting foam, and for other purposes.
Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA-27)
Establishes a PFAS replacement program through the Department of Transportation at certain airports, and for other purposes.
Rural Development Modernization Act
Rep. Jim Costa (R-CA-21)
To harmonize the population threshold for rural communities under programs carried out by the Department of Agriculture, and for other purposes.
Helping Low-Income Seniors Afford Care Act
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-2)
Amends the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 to extend funding outreach and assistance for low-income programs.
Choices for Increased Mobility Act of 2023
Rep. John Joyce (R-PA-13)
Amends title XVIII of the Social Security Act to clarify payment rules for manual wheelchairs under part B of the Medicare program.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is requesting comments on proposed guidance for assessing changes in environmental and ecosystem services in benefit-cost analysis.
September 18, 2023
US Army Corps of Engineers / DoD
The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 directs the Secretary of the Army to implement a pilot program for carrying out projects under a continuing authority program for economically disadvantaged
October 20, 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
Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees
November 7, 2023