Welcome back! Both the House and Senate will return this week after a month-long break to campaign ahead of the midterms, which occurred last week. Republicans appear set to take control of the House with a narrow majority, although the final outcomes have yet to be determined. Democrats were able to maintain control of the Senate when races in Arizona and Nevada were called over the weekend. Overall, Republicans failed to live up to the “red wave” that many were predicting.
Congress now enters a lame duck session with a packed schedule to complete before the new year. Leaders in both chambers will meet this week to discuss key legislation and organizational processes for the remainder of 2022.
The House GOP plans to hold their leadership elections on Tuesday. House Democrats will wait until after Thanksgiving to hold their elections. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will be announcing her leadership plans in the coming weeks. If she decides to step down, that could open up the door for a new generation in Democratic leadership. On the Senate side, Republicans are expected to hold their leadership elections on Wednesday, and Democrats will wait until the week of December 5.
This week, bicameral, bipartisan negotiations on spending levels for a 12-bill omnibus appropriations package will begin. The current continuing resolution (CR) that is funding the government expires on December 16, and lawmakers must determine whether to pass a long-term spending bill or another CR. They must also settle on an annual defense spending total, which would be included in an omnibus package and a must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). There has been talk of combining the two packages together, although that remains to be seen.
President Biden is in Bali, Indonesia this week for the G-20 Summit. After meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, he separately met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with both leaders committing to continued vigorous competition but also acknowledging that they must find a way to avoid open conflict.
On Monday, the House will meet to consider multiple bills under suspension.
- H.R. 5721 – VIPER Act of 2021, as amended (Rep. Takano – Veterans’ Affairs). The bill would codify the Veterans Health Administration’s Office of Research and Development.
- H.R. 7299 – SVAC Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Mrvan – Veterans’ Affairs). The measure would direct the VA to commission an independent assessment of the cybersecurity of five of its high-impact information systems and develop a plan for improving its controls.
- H.R. 7277 – Improving Oversight of Veterans Community Care Providers Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Pappas – Veterans’ Affairs). The bill would require the VA to implement a plan to enhance its methods for identifying health care providers that are ineligible to participate in the Veterans Community Care Program.
- H.R. 2250 – Department of Veterans Affairs Information Technology Reform Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Rosendale – Veterans’ Affairs). The legislation would direct the VA to take additional steps to monitor its spending on major information technology projects and report to Congress on cost increases and schedule delays.
- H.R. 3630 – Lymphedema Treatment Act, as amended (Rep. Schakowsky – Energy and Commerce). The bill would permit Medicare Part B to begin covering lymphedema compression garments by Jan. 1, 2024.
- H.R. 4275 – Ensuring Phone and Internet Access Through Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program Act of 2022, as amended (Rep. Luria – Energy and Commerce). The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to report to Congress on enrollment in two low-income subsidy programs.
- H.R. 6290 – Manufacturing.gov Act (Rep. Tonko – Energy and Commerce). The bill would require the Commerce Department to create a hub for information on federal manufacturing programs on its manufacturing.gov website.
- H.R. 5441 – PAST Act of 2021 (Rep. Cohen – Energy and Commerce). The bill would expand and increase enforcement and penalties for the ban on the practice of soring—when horses’ gaits are artificially modified by causing pain.
- H.R. 5502 – To require online marketplaces to verify certain information regarding high-volume third-party sellers of consumer products on such online marketplaces and to disclose to consumers certain contact and other information regarding such high-volume third-party sellers (Rep. Schakowsky – Energy and Commerce).
- S. 533 – Guidance Clarity Act of 2021 (Sen. Lankford – Oversight and Reform). The measure would require federal agencies to issue statements clarifying that their guidance documents don’t have the force of law and aren’t legally binding.
- S. 3655 – Civil Rights Cold Case Investigations Support Act of 2022 (Sen. Ossoff – Oversight and Reform). The bill would extend through 2026 the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board, which reviews federal agency requests to postpone disclosure of unsolved civil rights cases from 1940 to 1979.
- House Amendment to S. 407 – Air America Act of 2022 (Sen. Rubio – Oversight and Reform). The bill would permit Air America employees who worked from 1950 through 1976 or their survivors to receive payments of as much as $75,000.
- S. 3510 – Disaster Resiliency Planning Act (Sen. Peters – Oversight and Reform). The legislation would require the Office of Management and Budget to establish guidance requiring federal agencies to incorporate natural disaster resilience into their real property asset management and investment decisions.
- S. 1941 – MAPS Act of 2021 (Sen. Peters – Oversight and Reform). The bill would determine that federal agencies cannot automatically reduce assistance to smaller cities based on new statistical designations of metropolitan areas.
Tuesday – Friday, the House will meet for legislative business and to consider two bills under suspension.
- Bills expected under a rule
- S. 4524 – Speak Out Act (Sen. Gillibrand – Judiciary). The bill would make employer-related pre-dispute nondisclosure agreements relating to sexual assault or harassment “judicially unenforceable.” The Senate passed the measure by unanimous consent on Sept. 29.
- Bills expected under suspension
On Monday, the Senate will vote to invoke cloture on the nomination of María del R. Antongiorgi-Jordán to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of Puerto Rico. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has also indicated the upper chamber may vote on additional judicial nominees this week, which remains a priority for the Biden Administration.