Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of February 28, 2022

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of February 28, 2022

The Administration

Washington—and the world—remain focused on Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine. The United States and its NATO allies have imposed a series of strict sanctions on Russia, and Russia’s economy has already been impacted, including its energy sector, which many countries depend upon. The Administration plans to release emergency oil reserves to mitigate an impending hike in gas prices resulting from the sanctions.

Ukrainian and Russian delegations began talks today, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remains skeptical about how those talks will unfold. Zelensky has shown incredible leadership for Ukraine, fighting alongside its army and inspiring civilians to fight to protect their young democracy. In the meantime, the White House has authorized $350 million in aid for Ukraine and requested an additional $6.4 billion in new funding for humanitarian aid and protection for Ukraine, its neighbors, and the Baltic countries, in addition to Defense Department funds.

The conflict will hang over President Biden’s first State of the Union Address, which he’ll deliver Tuesday evening. The President will very likely tout his recent nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, along with his new infrastructure law and the country’s economic recovery. However, Republicans will point to rising inflation and conflicts abroad to argue that his Administration’s policies are failing.

Congress

The Senate will begin the Supreme Court confirmation process of Judge Jackson following President Biden’s nomination of her last week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has promised a swift yet thorough process to confirm Judge Jackson.

The Senate and House return to action this week with numerous hearings:

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce will discuss legislation to protect online users to hold big tech accountable.
  • The House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth will discuss promoting economic mobility and fair growth through access to affordable and stable housing.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee’s executive hearing will include the delayed nomination vote of Gigi Sohn to be an FCC commissioner.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will host a nomination hearing.