Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of February 5

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of February 5

Congress Debates the Border

Lawmakers from both Chambers return to Washington this week after Senate negotiators released the text of a long-awaited national security proposal over the weekend providing $118.3 billion in both aid to Ukraine and changes in immigration policy.

The proposal would provide $60 million for Ukraine as well as make several changes to the asylum process, including by tightening eligibility criteria and allowing border agents to turn away most asylum seekers when encounters reach 4,000 daily for the week.

It’s that latter point that has generated skepticism in the House, with Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and his leadership team all opposing the measure due to disagreements over border policy.

The Senate will hold a procedural vote on the bill this week, but once passed there it is unclear whether or when it would receive a vote in the House. Meanwhile the House is set to vote on an Israel-only $17.6 billion aid package with no new funding for Ukraine.

The House is also set to vote on several bills under expedited procedures, including those concerning federal land conveyances and program reauthorizations, wildlife protection, and drought assistance.

Members will also participate in a number of committee hearings this week, including the following:

  • The Senate Finance Committee will discuss AI in healthcare
  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will discuss high consumer drug prices
  • The House Ways & Means Committee will discuss chronic drug shortages in the U.S.
  • The House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will discuss the state of American aviation