Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of January 9, 2023

Becker’s Washington Weekly: Week of January 9, 2023

The 118th Congress Begins

Washington officially has two working branches of Congress after a four-day, 15-ballot marathon where House Republicans elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the next Speaker of the House.

Republicans won a majority in the 2022 midterms, but their narrower-than-expected victory allowed some House Republican holdouts to initially deny McCarthy the gavel and Members the opportunity to be sworn in and begin official business.

While the Senate is out this week, the House returns to take up a proposed rules package governing Chamber operations that Speaker McCarthy negotiated with key holdouts to win their support.

Chief among the package is the Motion to Vacate which would allow any one member to force a vote on electing a new Speaker – a process which ultimately doomed former Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) speakership.

Other notable proposed rules changes include:

  • capping FY24 spending at FY22 levels;
  • mandating a 72-hour review period for laws before they can be voted on;
  • allowing Members to offer amendments on the House floor;
  • eliminating COVID-19-era proxy voting for lawmakers;
  • reopening of the House-side of the Capitol to visitors without appointments; and,
  • reinstatement of the “Holman Rule” allowing members to introduce amendments reducing federal agencies’ budgets or staff size.

Once lawmakers approve the rules package, the House will then proceed to taking up legislation stripping the IRS of funding it received in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, barring strategic petroleum reserve sales to China, and establishing a committee on U.S.-China competition.

The Administration

President Biden visited the southern border over the weekend for the first time in his presidency, and will begin this week with a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The President will also hold a trilateral dinner with Lopez-Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.