Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of March 7, 2022

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of March 7, 2022

Congress

Both Chambers return to Washington this week as Senate and House lawmakers work to finalize a $1.5 trillion government funding package before Friday’s deadline, or else be forced to pass another continuing resolution to avert a government shutdown.

Since the current fiscal year began October 1, 2021, the Federal government has been funded by continuing resolutions that approved spending only from the previous fiscal year. Lawmakers used the resolutions to buy time to negotiate this year’s final spending measure. Now, it is close crossing the finish line.

The omnibus spending bill will include 12 bills set forth by each Committee to fund Agencies and programs under their jurisdiction. The measure may also include $10 billion in aid for Ukraine and $22.5 billion in COVID relief. House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer hopes to hold a vote by Tuesday, and Senators will then need unanimous consent to ensure the measure can pass their chamber by Friday night’s deadline.

The Senate will vote on a postal overhaul bill, which has already passed the House.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi alluded to possible future legislation against Russia, including banning importing Russian oil, repealing normal trade relations with Russia and its strategic ally Belarus, allowing the White House to increase tariffs on Russian imports, and denying Russian access to the World Trade Organization.

The House will conduct numerous hearings this week:

  • The House Financial Services Committee will discuss contributing factors to current inflation, focusing on corporate profiteering, supply chain bottlenecks, and COVID-19.
  • The House Small Business Committee will give an overview of the Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Programs.
  • The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee will discuss Federal climate adaption and resilience.
  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hear from stakeholders about the Surface Transportation Board’s regulation of the freight railroad industry.
  • The House Judiciary Committee will discuss reimagining public safety in the COVID-19 era.
  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee will discuss American EV manufacturing.

The House will also consider numerous measures under Suspension of the Rules, including multiple measures concerning the Department of Homeland Security’s operations and funding, and condemning violence against HBCUs and the terrorist attack against Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.

The Administration

President Biden delivered his first State of the Union Address last Tuesday. He touted America’s support for Ukraine and condemnation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion. He also discussed his domestic legislative accomplishments while calling on lawmakers to pass pending pieces of his agenda including prescription drug price reform and corporate minimum taxes.