Becker & Poliakoff

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of December 12, 2022

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of December 12, 2022

The House

The House is set to take up a number of bills under suspension of the rules, including those that would update federal procurement regulations to better flag conflicts of interests, provide more collective bargaining rights to certain Veterans Health Administration professionals, and establish a nationwide law enforcement de-escalation training program at the DOJ.

Lawmakers are also expected to punt on government funding this week until Christmas time following Democrats’ decision to scrap their plans to release their pitch on a year-end funding bill. House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said the plan likely wouldn’t receive bipartisan support, and that a year-long continuing resolution wasn’t off the table. Government funding expires this Friday.

The House Committee on Financial Services is also set to hold a hearing this week on the collapse of FTX in which its embattled former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to testify.

Finally, House Democrats will begin the week with a slimmer majority after former Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) officially resigned her seat to be sworn in as LA’s first woman mayor. The move leaves Democrats with a 218-seat majority – the bare minimum a party needs to control the chamber, albeit they two votes to spare (Republicans have 213 seats).

The Senate

The Chamber returns to DC today to take up judicial nominations, after which lawmakers are expected to take up the annual defense reauthorization compromise passed by the House last week. If passed without amendment, the bill could be sent straight to President Biden’s desk.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hold two hearings this week: one on promoting investments in smaller domestic manufacturers, and the other on meeting America’s broadband needs.

Similar to the House, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will also hold a hearing on the FTX collapse, although Bankman-Fried is not set to appear.

The Senate is also down one Democrat this week after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) announced she has left the Democratic Party to become an Independent. On paper, the move deprives Democrats of the stronger 51-49 majority they gained after Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) won his runoff reelection last week. However, Sen. Sinema has stated she will not change her voting pattern which has generally favored Democrats.

The Administration

This week, the President will hold a signing ceremony at the White House celebrating the passage of bipartisan legislation protecting same-sex and interracial marriages. He’ll also host and participate in a series of events tied to the U.S.-Africa Leader Summit, including a business forum, an agenda setting-meeting, and a dinner at the White House.

Finally, the Federal Reserve is expected to announce another rate hike this week of 50 base points following the release of last month’s consumer price index data. The increase would be 25 points less than the most recent series of rate hikes.