Both the House and Senate are in session this week.
They will continue their push to enact a stopgap government funding bill before fiscal 2022 funds expire on September 30. Congressional activity will slow greatly in October as the Democratic leadership teams hope to give their members time to campaign and the best chances to retain their slim majorities.
Additional policies that could ride on a stopgap government funding bill include bipartisan support to boost the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster fund and provide additional funding to help Ukraine fight Russia. However, Republicans have so far remained opposed to including additional money to combat COVID-19 and monkeypox.
Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has reiterated his promise to include a measure easing permitting for federal energy projects like natural gas pipelines under the Energy Policy Act. It is a priority for Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who was told during the negotiations of the Inflation Reduction Act that it would get a vote. This process could become complicated because last week, 70 House Democrats sent a letter to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) asking leaders to keep the energy permitting provisions out of a continuing resolution or any other must-pass legislation this year.
The Senate may also consider a bill that would codify same-sex marriage. The bill’s sponsors are working on changes to the original text to appease Republicans who have expressed concerns over religious institutions’ liberties and tax-exempt status. They need the support of 10 Republicans in order to avoid the 60-vote filibuster threshold.
On Friday, President Biden will hold a meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Then, he and the First Lady will travel to the United Kingdom on Saturday for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
On Tuesday, the House will meet to consider multiple bills under suspension.
- S. 3103 – Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022 (Sen. Durbin – Judiciary). The bill would eliminate the federal statute of limitations for crimes involving minor victims—including sexual abuse, human trafficking, forced labor, and child pornography.
- S. 4785 – A bill to extend by 19 days the authorization for the special assessment for the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund (Sen. Klobuchar – Judiciary). The bill would extend through September 30 an additional special assessment used to finance the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Fund.
- H.R. 5315 – Drone Infrastructure Inspection Grant Act, as amended (Rep. Stanton – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would permit the Transportation Department to create grant programs to facilitate the use of drones for critical infrastructure projects and workforce training programs.
- H.R. 884 – National Aviation Preparedness Plan Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Larsen – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would require the Transportation Department to develop a national aviation preparedness plan for communicable disease outbreaks within two years of enactment.
- H.R. 5774 – Expediting Disaster Recovery Act (Rep. Garret Graves – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would permit FEMA to provide assistance, subject to appropriation, to states to fill unmet needs following a declared major disaster.
- H.R. 1468 – Securities and Exchange Commission Real Estate Leasing Authority Revocation Act, as amended (Rep. Norton – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would prohibit the Securities and Exchange Commission from independently leasing general purpose office space.
- H.R. 1066 – Wildfire Recovery Act, as amended (Rep. Neguse – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would permit FEMA to use funds appropriated for disaster relief under the Stafford Act to increase the federal cost share for fire management assistance grants to as much as 100%—and no less than 75%.
- S. 2293 – CREW Act (Sen. Peters – Transportation and Infrastructure). FEMA reservists—on-call staff who first respond to major disasters and emergencies—would be granted employment protections and benefits under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
- S. 4205 – PAW Act (Sen. Peters – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would require FEMA to establish an advisory working group to review best practices and federal guidance on sheltering and evacuation planning for the needs of household pets and service animals in emergencies and disasters.
- S. 442 – BRIGHT Act (Sen. Peters – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would require the General Services Administration to procure and use lighting systems with the most energy-efficient and cost-effective life cycles for public buildings.
- H.R. 7939 – Student Veteran Emergency Relief Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Mike Levin – Veterans’ Affairs). The bill would allow the Veterans Affairs Department to extend additional educational and vocational benefits during future emergencies.
- H.R. 7846 – Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2022 (Rep. Luria – Veterans’ Affairs). Disabled veterans and their families would receive a cost-of-living adjustment to their disability and survivors’ compensation effective December 1.
- H.R. 7735 – Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Bost – Veterans’ Affairs). The bill would require the Veterans Affairs Department to update regulations and program requirements for its home loan appraisal process.
- H.R. 5916 – Wounded Warrior Access Act, as amended (Rep. Aguilar – Veterans’ Affairs). The bill would require the Veterans Affairs Department to establish a secure online resource for veterans to submit electronic requests for claim records.
- H.R. 8260 – Faster Payments to Veterans Survivors’ Act of 2022 (Rep. Pappas – Veterans’ Affairs). The bill would require the Veterans Affairs Department to modify the process of designating and paying life insurance benefits to beneficiaries of deceased veterans.
Wednesday – Friday, the House will meet for legislative business and to consider additional bills under suspension.
- Bills expected under a rule
- H.R. 2988 – Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act of 2021 (Rep. Carolyn Maloney – Oversight and Reform). The bill would bolster protections for federal employees and officers engaged in whistleblowing activity.
- H.R. 8326 – Ensuring a Fair and Accurate Census Act (Rep. Carolyn Maloney – Oversight and Reform). The measure would require the Census Bureau to establish a thorough review procedure to add a new question to the census. It would also require cause to fire the director of the bureau.
- H.R. 302 – Preventing a Patronage System Act of 2021 (Rep. Connolly – Oversight and Reform). The bill would limit the President’s ability to reclassify Executive Branch federal workers to a category with fewer statutory and job protections.
- Bills under suspension
- H.R. 8487 – Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022 (Rep. DelBene – Ways and Means). The bill would enforce Medicare Advantage plans requiring prior authorization to establish an electronic authorization program and meet new standards for decision timing and transparency.
On Monday, the Senate will vote on confirmation of Salvador Mendoza to join the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before voting on the motion to limit debate on Arianna Freeman’s nomination to sit on the Third Circuit. Schumer has also filed for cloture on Lara Montecalvo for the First Circuit.