The Senate will be in session this week to close out the February work period. On the floor, senators will resume consideration of pending presidential nominations, beginning with Cindy Chung’s nomination to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit Court. Meanwhile, House lawmakers have wrapped up legislative business for the month and will return after President’s Day district work period on Monday, February 27.
Capitol Hill Update
Lawmakers will return to action this week, starting with the House later today and the Senate tomorrow. Committee work in the upper chamber will begin in earnest after the Senate adopted its organizing resolutions for the 118th Congress during last Thursday’s session. Senators will also resume their push to clear pending presidential nominations when they return tomorrow, starting with DeAndrea Benjamin’s nomination to be a Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit Court. Meanwhile, House Republican leadership has teed up legislation that seeks to terminate the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) requirement for proof of COVID-19 vaccination for foreign travelers. The bill is expected to pass the House along party lines and meet resistance in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The House and Senate will both meet for legislative business later today as lawmakers continue organizing various committee and subcommittee rosters for the 118th Congress. Notable announcements over the weekend include: (1) full committee assignments on the Democratic side for each of the House standing committees; (2) Democratic subcommittee rosters for the House Ways and Means Committee; and (3) GOP subcommittee assignments on the House Appropriations Committee, among others. Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to formally adopt its committee organizing resolutions at some point this week after waiver-related issues on the Republican side delayed consideration last week.
Both chambers of Congress will return for legislative business this week, starting with the Senate later today, followed by the House on Tuesday. On the floor, House Republican leadership has queued up a dozen suspension bills for consideration, including legislation that would nix the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) leasing authority. Lawmakers will take up a pair of measures related to disaster relief that would: (1) establish an online repository of certain reporting requirements for recipients of federal disaster assistance (H.R. 259); and (2) conduct a study that focuses on streamlining and consolidating information collection and preliminary damage assessment (H.R. 255). In the upper chamber, Senators will hold a final up-or-down vote on Brendan Owens’ nomination to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense. Meanwhile, the current expectation on Capitol Hill is that all committee assignments in both chambers will be completed this week as lawmakers look to begin committee work for the 118th Congress in earnest.
House lawmakers adjourned for the Martin Luther King Jr. district work period last week after passing [331-97] legislation that would ban the sale of crude oil reserves to China. Both chambers will return to action next week, with the Senate meeting first on Monday, January 23, and the House on Tuesday, January 24. Meanwhile, it is anticipated that the House Republican Steering Committee will continue doling out committee assignments and subcommittee gavels over the coming days, including leadership posts for the Committees on Appropriations, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce.
House lawmakers were finally sworn-in early Saturday morning after House Republicans elected Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as Speaker during the 15th round of voting. Speaker McCarthy ultimately won the gavel after GOP dissidents — Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Matt Rosendale (R-MT) — switched their votes to present, thus lowering the threshold needed to win a majority. House Republican leadership will now turn their attention to passing the rules package (text; summary) for the 118th Congress, as well as settling a series of undecided committee leadership posts. According to the latest intel, the House GOP Steering Committee will meet today to begin the process of deciding on contested gavels for the Committees on Ways and Means, Homeland, Education and Workforce, Budget, and Small Business. Other organizational activities — including decisions on contested subcommittee leadership posts and committee assignments for the rank-and-file at large — are expected in the coming days from leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Lawmakers returned to Washington today to formally kick off the 118th Congress as the race for Speaker of the House remains in an unprecedented standstill. While Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) earned more than 200 votes from his Republican colleagues in the first two rounds of voting, he remains shy of the 218 votes necessary to win the speaker’s gavel. As it currently stands, 19 House Republicans have opposed Leader McCarthy’s nomination, instead casting their votes for Freedom Caucus co-founder Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
Capitol Hill Update
Both chambers will return for votes today as negotiations on a year-end omnibus funding package continue. The “four corners” leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are expected to resume their deliberations over the course of the next few days in the hopes of striking a deal on topline funding figures for fiscal year (FY) 2023 — an important precursor to the development of a broader year-end spending package. If negotiators do not make significant progress over the course of the next two weeks, another continuing resolution (CR) will be needed to keep the government funded past Friday, December 16.
Congress will return for votes this week, with the Senate in first later today followed by the House tomorrow. As the December 16 government funding deadline draws nearer, appropriators are pushing to reach an agreement on topline funding levels for fiscal year (FY) 2023 — a key precursor to a year-end spending package. With divided government on the horizon, lawmakers appear motivated to tie up loose ends on several bipartisan legislative efforts prior to the start of the 118th Congress. However, cooperation between Democratic and Republican leadership will be crucial, especially in the evenly divided Senate. Any extraneous policy riders that imperil the omnibus’s chances of reaching 60 votes will likely fall by the wayside to ensure that the government remains funded past the December 16 deadline.