Both the House and Senate will be in session this week.
Senate Democrats are continuing their efforts this week to pursue options to advance voting rights legislation ahead of midterm elections in the fall. President Biden and Democratic leaders are hoping to convince Republicans to allow them to pass laws that would push back against state-level efforts to limit absentee balloting and tighten identification requirements or change the rules in the Senate to allow them to bypass a GOP filibuster. Two of those bills include the Freedom to Vote Act, which would make Election Day a public holiday, require states to allow same-day voter registration, and guarantee that all voters can request mail-in ballots, and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which extends federal “preclearance” of voter laws in states with a history of discrimination. Democrats have been lobbying the moderates in their party – particularly Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) and Joe Manchin (WV) – who support voting rights reform but have been hesitant to roll back the chamber’s filibuster rules.
House appropriators will also meet this week to examine the effects of stopgap funding measures on the Department of Defense as government funding negotiations have stalled and the possibility of a full-year continuing resolution weighs on discussions. Lawmakers have already had to rely on two stopgaps to avoid shutdowns in order to fund the government from October 1, 2021 through the current deadline, February 18.
It is unlikely that there will be any movement on the Build Back Better Act, the Democrats’ $1.75 trillion tax and spending package, as it continues to evade any consensus in the upper chamber and appears stalled for the time being.
On Tuesday, President Biden and Vice President Harris will travel to Georgia to pay homage to the state’s civil rights history in an attempt to build support among the public for voting rights legislation, even if the Senate has to modify the chamber’s filibuster rules.
On Monday, the House will meet to establish a quorum in the House of Representatives for the Second Session of the 117th Congress.
Tuesday – Thursday, the House will meet for legislative business.
- Bills expected under a rule
- House Amendment to Senate Amendment to H.R. 5746 – NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Extension Act of 2021 (Rep. Beyer – Science, Space, and Technology), which would extend NASA’s authority to lease some property and equipment to the private sector and other agencies.
- H.R. 1836 – Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 (Rep. Mike Levin – Veterans’ Affairs). The legislation would allow National Guard and Reserve members to count time spent in training toward their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits.
On Monday, the Senate will vote on the motion to invoke cloture, or limit debate, on the nomination of Alan Davidson to be Commerce Department assistant secretary for communications and information. Additional votes on nominations are expected this week.
Friday is the deadline for a vote on Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) bill (S. 3436) that would impose sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline across the Baltic Sea. Cruz secured the vote as part of an agreement that allowed several of President Biden’s nominations to move forward before the Senate left for the holidays.