Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of June 6, 2022

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of June 6, 2022

The Administration

President Biden enters this week with a better-than-expected jobs report for the month of May that details a 390,000 increase in non-farm payrolls and a steady 3.6% unemployment rate.

However, the Administration is continuing to address rising inflation due to supply chain backlogs and other setbacks caused by the pandemic that have caused the President’s approval rating to slump. The White House is now deliberating over whether to support a corporate windfall tax on oil and gas companies, which have enjoyed excessive profits as energy costs soar.

The White House is also pushing members of Congress to support stricter gun reforms such as enhanced background checks and assault weapons bans following a recent string of mass shootings.

Finally, President Biden will travel to Los Angeles this week to launch the Summit of the Americas, which will host leaders from the region, with the exception of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

The House

The House returns from its Memorial Day recess this week to take up a number of bills, including those addressing gun violence through measures such as increased age limits on purchases and “red flag” laws, which allow courts to issue orders for the seizure of guns from people who are a danger to themselves or others. While those measures are likely to pass in the House along party lines, they are unlikely to clear the Senate.

The chamber will also take up 12 bills under suspension of the rules, including:

  • Several small business-related bills addressing pandemic fraud and workforce support,
  • FDA user fee authorizations, and
  • Authorization of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water infrastructure projects.

The House will also hold numerous hearings this week:

  • The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing to address detecting and quantifying methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
  • The House Committee on Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing on gun violence.
  • The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing to address building safer roads.

The Senate

The Senate also returns from recess this week and is similarly working on a gun reform package, albeit a smaller more bipartisan one than in the House. The small bipartisan group of Senators that include Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) hinted that they are making progress on crafting a package that can earn 60 votes to clear the filibuster.

The Senate will also hold several hearings this week:

  • The Senate Banking Committee will vote on Michael Barr’s nomination to Vice Chair for Supervision of the Federal Reserve, as well as several nominees to positions as SEC Commissioners.
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on ransomware payments enabled by cryptocurrency.
  • The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold a hearing on reviving tourism through international travel.

The Senate Finance Committee will hear testimony from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget.