Becker’s Washington Weekly: April 19, 2021

Becker’s Washington Weekly: April 19, 2021

THE HOUSE

The House returns this week and will spend Monday evening voting on a series of bills under suspension of the rules. Among the mostly non-controversial legislation expected to receive a vote and pass under suspension is a package of bills related to the Department of Homeland Security, HR 1532 – the Improving Federal Housing Administration support for Small-Dollar Mortgages Act, HR 1996 (a marijuana banking bill), and HR 1602, which would establish a working group of federal agency and industry representatives to study regulatory frameworks for digital assets.

The House is likely to take up a bill establishing statehood for Washington, DC under regular order later this week. Two immigration bills are expected to receive floor votes following a Rules Committee hearing: HR 1573, which would require DHS to provide individuals being screened at the border with the opportunity to consult with counsel during the process, and HR 1333, a bill – introduce by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), in response to former President Trump’s “Muslim ban” – that would limit the Presidential authority to use proclamations to bar entry into the US and prohibits religious discrimination in various immigration-related decisions.

There are also a number of committee hearings and markups this week.

  • On Tuesday, the Financial Services Committee will markup eight bills including HR 2516, a bill requiring Federal banking regulators to include a diversity and inclusion component in the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System. The Agriculture Committee will also hold a Tuesday hearing on rural broadband, examining internet connectivity needs in rural America.
  • On Wednesday, the Foreign Affairs Committee will markup a number of bills including HR 1155, a bill aimed at ensuring goods made with forced labor in the Xinjiang Uygur region of China do not enter the U.S. market.

THE SENATE

The Senate also returns this week with coronavirus and infrastructure at the top of the agenda. Among the bills expected to receive consideration in the Senate this week are S. 937 – the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, and S. 914 – the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act, the Senate’s $35 billion water infrastructure bill.

While House Democrats and Republicans have both agreed to move forward with the return of a reformed version of earmarks in the form of Community Project Funding, a key vehicle to garner support for a large infrastructure package, 15 Senate Republicans announced on Monday that they would oppose any return to earmarks. The group includes Senators Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Josh Hawley, Ben Sasse, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, and Joni Ernst among others.

The Senate will continue its work to consider and advance nominees to Biden Administration positions. Former Senator Bill Nelson (NASA Administrator), Linda Khan (FTC Commissioner), Dilawar Syed (Deputy SBA Administrator), and Kiran Arjandas Ahuka (OPM Director) will all appear before the respective committees of jurisdiction this week.

There are also many committee hearings and markups of note in the Senate this week.

  • On Tuesday, the Finance Committee will hold a hearing examining inequality in the U.S. tax code, the Commerce Committee will discuss the FTC’s consumer protection authorities with all four Commissioners, and the Appropriations Committee will discuss the Administration’s American Jobs Plan with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.
  • On Wednesday, the Committee on Foreign Relations will markup legislation including S 413, a bill to establish the China Censorship Monitor and Action Group, and S 1169 – the Strategic Competition Act, legislation designed to confront China’s economic and geopolitical power through investments in infrastructure and technology development. Also on Wednesday, the Commerce Committee is expected to hold a hearing on America’s safe return to air travel.
  • On Thursday, the Finance Committee will examine U.S.-China relations and improving competitiveness through trade.

THE ADMINISTRATION

As his 100th day in office approaches, President Joe Biden and his administration remained focused on moving a long-sought after infrastructure bill through Congress. Monday afternoon, the President hosted a bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress who previously served as mayors or Governors to emphasize the importance of federal investment in infrastructure projects.

While they await a more modest Senate GOP proposal than the $2 trillion package sought by the Administration, there is public reporting that Biden’s team and Senate Democrats are moving away from the 28% corporate tax rate proposed to pay for the bill. There seems to be an understanding among Democrats that the final number will more likely be 25% for the corporate tax rate.

While the President met with members of Congress, Vice President Kamala Harris was in North Carolina on Monday pitching the Administration’s American Jobs Plan. On Tuesday, the President and Vice President are expected to meet virtually with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on legislative priorities and President Biden will tour an electric battery facility in South Carolina. Later this week, the President will participate in the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate for Earth Day on the 22nd.

Becker’s Federal Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.