Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of March 14, 2022

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of March 14, 2022

The Administration

Last week, Congress passed an omnibus budget bill to fully fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. Since the start of the Fiscal Year in October, the government has been funded by a series of continuing resolutions that only extended the prior fiscal year’s funding levels. President Biden is now set to sign the legislation this week. The package also includes $13.6 billion to fund America’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Department of Justice has appointed a Chief Prosecutor to enforce President Biden’s State of the Union announcement that the Department will prosecute instances of COVID-19 relief fraud.

The White House and China will meet for the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China, which shares a border with Russia, is considered to be a strategic partner of Russia. However, the Biden Administration hopes their talks will help deter further Russian incursions in Ukraine and Europe.

While the Administration has repeatedly rebuffed calls to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine, it has placed even more sanctions on Russia, and this week the House is expected to revoke Russia’s permanent trade relationship status. This comes as Russia recently launched an airstrike on a Ukrainian military base just 11 miles from Poland.

The Senate

This week, the Senate will continue considering Shalanda Young’s nomination to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Young, who currently OMB’s deputy director and has been serving as acting director, is expected to be confirmed this week.

Next week, the Senate will begin the Supreme Court confirmation process of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Republicans are not likely to put up a heavy-handed fight against Jackson’s nomination as her confirmation would not alter the balance of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, Democrats do not need Republican support so long as all 50 Democrats vote to confirm Judge Jackson and Vice President Harris casts the tie-breaking vote in her favor.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will deliver a virtual, private address to Congress this week.

Additionally, the Senate will host numerous hearings:

  • The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will consider S.3799, the PREVENT Pandemics Act.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee will consider testimony on the health effects of exposure to airborne hazards, including from toxic fumes from burn pits.
  • The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will discuss the role of digital assets in illicit finances.

The House

This week, the House will consider H.R. 963, the FAIR Act, which will ban employers from forcing their employees and consumers to pursue legal claims via arbitration rather than through the courts. The House is also looking to pass a supplemental COVID-19 relief bill this week, though there will need to be more negotiations for it to pass the Senate.

Additionally, the House will conduct numerous hearings:

  • The House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth will discuss small business growth.
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will host a members’ day hearing to discuss proposals for WRDA 2022, and will also discuss community concerns from aviation noise.
  • The House Oversight and Reform Committee will discuss the role of forest management in reducing catastrophic wildfires.
  • The House Energy & Commerce Committee will explore 5G’s role in the future.
  • The House Oversight and Reform Committee will examine Federal support for HBCUs.