The House is in recess today and tomorrow for Rosh Hashanah, while the Senate returns Tuesday. The focus of Congress this week is on a legislative solution for government funding, which expires Friday at midnight.
This week, the House will consider 32 bills under suspension of the rules, including the Senate-passed Chance to Compete Act of 2022 (HR 6967), which would implement merit-based reforms to the civil service hiring system that replace degree-based hiring with skills- and competency-based hiring, and for other purposes. The House also will vote on the Visit America Act (HR 6965), which promotes travel and tourism in the United States, and for other purposes. Finally, the House may consider legislation limiting lawmakers’ ability to trade stock. On Tuesday, the Senate will invoke cloture on the motion to proceed for the Affordable Insulin Now Act (HR 6833), a vehicle for the continuing resolution to fund the government – covered further in depth below.
Congress has until midnight on Friday, September 30, to finalize a stopgap government funding package, also known as a continuing resolution (CR). Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has a vote set for tomorrow at 5:30 pm on a procedural motion, allowing for a legislative vehicle to pass the short-term government funding bill. After Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) last week released his Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, a bill that would streamline energy and natural resources projects, Majority Leader Schumer is working to attach the permitting reform to the CR. Many Senate Republicans and progressive Democrats are opposed to attaching the legislation to the CR. Many have expressed opposition to the CR if leadership adds Sen. Manchin’s bill. Sen. Manchin is courting votes from Senate Republicans and announced he has support from several members, including Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), who has permitting reform legislation of her own. It is likely that the combined funding and permitting reform bill will not receive the 60 votes needed. At that point, Leader Schumer will have to remove the permitting measure in order to pass the CR and avoid a government shutdown.
Negotiations on other items to include in the CR outside permitting reform are still ongoing. The bill will likely include $12 billion in military aid for Ukraine, an item that Democrats and Republicans agree on. Other provisions may include a five-year reauthorization of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) user fees, low-income winter heating assistance, disaster relief in Jackson, MS, and funding for Afghan refugee resettlement. On the House side, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the House would work through the weekend if necessary to pass the government spending bill. Once the Senate passes legislation, the House, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is prepared to work on passing the CR under the authority of the “same-day rule,” which allows ongoing negotiations on any bill and a floor vote as soon as negotiators reach an agreement. Many believe the CR will eventually pass and will fund federal agencies at enacted FY22 funding levels through Friday, December 16.
Various House and Senate committees will hold several hearings for the remainder of the week, including a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on multiple bills addressing forestry and wildfire resilience. The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a markup hearing on “H.R. 4690, Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act of 2021,”; the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations will hold a hearing on “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Title XII – Department Operations and Outreach”; and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing on “Investing in our Nation’s Transportation Infrastructure and Workers: Why it Matters.” On Wednesday, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold a hearing.
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