President Biden will give his first State of the Union Address on March 1 after accepting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation.
Additionally, President Biden is pivoting congressional Democrats’ agenda towards passing voting rights legislation to counteract state legislatures’ recent rollback of ballot access. Democrats are hoping to either convince Republicans to join them in these efforts or to change Senate rules to bypass potential Republican filibusters. However, both are tall tasks, especially because centrist Democratic Senators Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV) both oppose rolling back filibuster rules.
Senate Leader Schumer (NY) will carry the voting rights baton in the Senate. Also this week, the Senate will conduct numerous hearings:
- The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will discuss New COVID-19 Variants: A Federal Perspective on the COVID-19 Response.
- The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a roundtable discussion on Closing the Digital Divide in Native Communities through Infrastructure Investment.
The House is returning to a full schedule for the first time this New Year. With fears that a new budget cannot be agreed upon by the February 18 funding deadline, the House is considering the effects of a year’s-long continuing resolution that would fund the government at the most recently approved budgetary levels, which were set in late 2020. Specifically, the House will consider the state of the Defense Department. However, Democrats have warned that doing so would cut defense spending by $37 billion. The House will also conduct the following hearings:
- House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will consider Proposals for a Water Resources Development Act of 2022.
- House Committee on Agriculture will discuss the Implications of Electric Vehicle Investments for Agriculture and Rural America.
- House Small Business Committee Review of SBA’s Top Management and Performance Challenges in Fiscal Year 2022 and SBA OIG’s Semiannual Report to Congress.
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.