Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of November 13

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of November 13

The House

Congress returns to Washington in what is the last full week before the November 17th government funding deadline by which Members must pass a spending package to avoid a shutdown.

House lawmakers will meet this week to vote on Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) “laddered” stopgap bill proposal that would fund one group of agencies at current levels through January 19th, 2024 and another through February 2nd to buy lawmakers more time to craft a full appropriations package.

Agencies funded through January 19th would fall under the following bills: Agriculture-FDA, Energy & Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing & Urban Development. All other agencies would fall under the February 2nd deadline.

The bill has been described as a “clean” continuing resolution (CR), meaning it omits added provisions sought by both sides of the aisle including Republican-backed border security measures and the Biden Administration’s call for new Ukraine funding. However, the CR would extend both farm and expiring health programs through September 30th, 2024.

To pass this stopgap proposal, Speaker Johnson can only afford to lose four Republican votes (assuming all Democrats vote against the bill); however, three Republicans have already announced their opposition to the CR.

House lawmakers will also vote on the FY24 Labor-Health & Human Services and Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bills notwithstanding the CR vote. Other pending legislation include a reauthorization of the Justice Department’s DNA Backlog grant program and a ban on trademarks related to businesses and assets confiscated by the Cuban government.

Members will also participate in committee hearings this week, including the following:

  • The House Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division
  • The House Energy & Commerce Committee will hold an oversight hearing of EPA’s clean power plan
  • The House Financial Services Committee will examine criminal activity in the crypto space

The Senate

Senators also return to Washington this week to take up nominations and advance their own mid-January stopgap funding measure that abandons the House’s laddered approach.

This week’s committees scheduled in the Senate include the following:

  • The Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee will examine AI in the agriculture sector
  • The Senate Finance Committee will discuss telehealth benefits in Medicare
  • The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will examine U.S. leadership in AI

The Administration

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will host the Vegas Golden Knights at the White House in honor of the team’s 2023 Stanley Cup win.

President Biden will also host a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo that is set to include an announcement of a joint initiative on critical-mineral supplies.