The Senate is in session this week.
The House has no votes scheduled but will be holding a committee work week. The upper chamber has until Friday to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government or face a federal shutdown. The House passed a stopgap measure last week with bipartisan support that would give appropriators until March 11 to assemble and pass a spending bill to carry the government to October 1 or pass another short-term CR. Negotiators reached an agreement on a framework for a full government funding deal last week, but appropriators need additional time to hammer out details, including dollar amounts for each subcommittee. A wrinkle was hit this weekend over $30 million in federal funding for certain drug reduction programs and questions about whether crack pipes are funded by that program.
The White House is also considering reworking President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act to emphasize U.S. deficit reduction in an effort to secure support from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who continues to be a key holdout preventing the package from moving forward in the Senate. Also in the background, the White House continues to vet potential Supreme Court nominees and is prepping for the March 1 State of the Union and its release of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget.
President Biden is continuing to travel the country this week to promote the bipartisan infrastructure law.
On Monday, the Senate will hold a procedural vote on the motion to take up a package (H.R. 3076) of U.S. Postal Service changes, including shifting health care costs for most of its retired employees to Medicare and repealing the mandate that it “prefund” payments for those benefits years in advance. The House passed the bill last week with bipartisan support. A clerical error in enrolling the bill will delay the Senate’s ability to take up the House-passed postal bill but is unlikely to ultimately affect its passage through the Senate.
The Senate is set to confirm Robert Califf to be commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services, and votes on the nominee are expected to occur as early as Tuesday. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is also working to tee up votes on other nominees mid-week, including for Shalanda Young and Nani Coloretti, President Biden’s picks to serve as director and deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.