Last week, Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer announced his retirement from the bench. His retirement now allows President Biden to nominate his successor who he has promised will be an African American woman. He announced that he will make his decision by the end of February, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated that the confirmation process would then take 30 days.
The Administration has also been working with Congress on scaling back the stalled Build Back Better Act (BBB) which experts are hopeful will include various climate provisions. Now, progressive House Democrats are working to pass some new version of BBB by the President’s State of the Union Address on March 1, though Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says there is no deadline. Senators are also expected to resume negotiations this week.
Congress is also coming up against the February 18 government funding deadline. If a budget is not passed by then, lawmakers will need to pass another temporary stopgap measure to avoid a shutdown.
Senators are closing in on a new Russian sanctions bill as Russia continues its threat to invade Ukraine. Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said Russia will face consequences even if it doesn’t invade Ukraine.
The Senate will hold multiple hearings this week:
- Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies will discuss expanding broadband access under the Department of Commerce’s broadband programs in the IIJA.
- Senate Judiciary Committee’s Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights Subcommittee will consider the effect of market power on a free press.
- Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee will consider the nomination of Gigi Sohn.
House Members return from their Districts this week and will host numerous hearings:
- House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Hearing: “The Road Ahead for Automated Vehicles.”
- House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will discuss manufacturing a clean energy future with solutions made in America.
- House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Aviation Hearing will discuss 5G deployment and aviation safety amidst concerns of the effects of new 5G towers on airline equipment.
- House Committee on the Judiciary will consider the American Music Fairness Act
- House Committee on the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will discuss Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.