Both chambers will be in session this week and plan to authorize defense spending for the rest of the fiscal year. In previous weeks, it appeared as though negotiators were trying to include a must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into an omnibus spending package. However, an emerging agreement was negotiated behind closed doors without a formal conference process over the past week. It would authorize $45 billion more than President Joe Biden requested for national security. The compromise defense package will be considered as an amendment to H.R. 7776, the biennial Water Resources Development Act, which already passed the House and Senate and will allow the chambers to give the bill speedy consideration in lieu of an official conference report.
The House is set to pass legislation that will protect same-sex and interracial marriages, which was passed in the Senate last week.
Additionally, bicameral, bipartisan negotiations will continue on spending levels for a 12-bill omnibus appropriations package. 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. It’s becoming more likely that Congress will have to pass another short-term CR to give negotiators more time to determine the topline spending numbers and other sticking points before moving forward with a full-year spending package.
Senate Democrats will also hold their caucus’s leadership elections this week. Last week, the caucus defeated a proposal by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) that would have limited Democrats in top leadership from holding full committee gavels. The proposal would have prevented Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) from continuing to hold their leadership positions while simultaneously chairing the Judiciary and Agriculture Committees, respectively.
Furthermore, all eyes are on Georgia, where Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) will face off against his challenger, Herschel Walker, in an election runoff on December 6. If Warnock is able to win, it will give Democrats a true majority in the Senate and on the committees and allow them to operate without Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wielding effective veto power over nominations and legislation.
On Monday, President Biden will host the Congressional Ball at the White House. Later in the week, Biden will travel to Phoenix to visit chip manufacturer TSMC and discuss plans for his economic agenda.
On Monday, the House will meet to consider multiple bills under suspension.
- S. 198 – Data Mapping to Save Moms’ Lives Act (Sen. Rosen – Energy and Commerce). The bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to incorporate data on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity into its broadband mapping platform.
- S. 4052 – Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2022 (Sen. Portman – Energy and Commerce). The bill would reauthorize for five years hearing loss programs for newborns, infants, and young children.
- Senate Amendment to H.R. 1193 – Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities Legacy Act (Rep. Barr – Energy and Commerce). The measure would require the Health and Human Services Department to continue activities related to research, education, and awareness of valvular heart diseases.
- Senate Amendment to H.R. 3462 – SBA Cyber Awareness Act (Rep. Crow – Small Business). The bill would require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to report to Congress on plans to mitigate cybersecurity risks.
- H.R. 8844 – STEP Improvement Act of 2022 (Rep. Evans – Small Business). The bill would reauthorize the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program at $30 million a year for fiscal years 2023 through 2026.
- House Amendment to S. 1687 – Small Business Cyber Training Act of 2022 (Sen. Rubio – Small Business). The measure would require the SBA to create a program to certify small business development center employees to assist small businesses with cyber planning.
- S. 1617 – Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act (Sen. Risch – Small Business). The legislation would authorize the SBA to declare a disaster in a rural area under certain circumstances, allowing access to the agency’s disaster loan program.
- S. 3875 – Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act of 2022 (Sen. Peters – Transportation and Infrastructure). The legislation would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency to permanently maintain its natural hazard National Risk Index and use it to designate high-risk areas as community disaster resilience zones.
- S. 3499 – To amend the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 to repeal certain obsolete requirements (Sen. Peters – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would repeal a requirement that limits the Homeland Security Department’s use of subcontractors for more than 65% of the cost of certain emergency response and recovery contracts.
- S. 4235 – A bill to amend the Controlled Substances Act to fix a technical error in the definitions (Sen. Grassley – Judiciary).
- S. 2796 – Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act (Sen. Ossoff – Judiciary). The bill would expand eligibility for the Justice Department’s comprehensive opioid grant program to include pilot programs to make grants for community response programs in rural areas that focus on reducing opioid overdose deaths.
- S. 4834 – PROTECT Our Children Act of 2022 (Sen. Cornyn – Judiciary). The legislation would reauthorize at $60 million annually through fiscal year 2024 a federal program to help state and local law enforcement officers combat the online sexual exploitation of children.
- Senate Amendment to H.R. 5796 – Patents for Humanity Act of 2022 (Rep. Jeffries – Judiciary). The bill would codify the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s competitive program to accelerate patent reviews for inventions that address global humanitarian needs.
Tuesday – Friday, the House will meet for legislative business.
- Bills expected under a rule
- Senate Amendment to H.R. 8404 – Respect for Marriage Act (Rep. Nadler – Judiciary). The bill would protect same-sex marriage status between two individuals under the Senate-passed version of H.R. 8404. The bill would not require nonprofit religious organizations to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for the celebration of a marriage.
- Senate Amendment to H.R. 7776 – James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (Rep. Adam Smith – Armed Services). The bill authorizes spending for defense programs at the Pentagon, Energy Department, and other federal agencies in fiscal year 2023.
- H.R. 3648 – EAGLE Act of 2022 (Rep. Lofgren – Judiciary). The bill would eliminate a per-country cap for employment-based green cards. The measure also would increase a per-country cap on family-based green cards and make several changes to the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program.
- H.R. 7946 – Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2022 (Rep. Takano – Judiciary). The bill would expand qualifications for green cards and deportation relief for certain noncitizen veterans and service members.
On Monday, the Senate will resume consideration of Frances Behm to be a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has also filed cloture on four nominees to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania: Kelley Brisbon Hodge, Mia Roberts Perez, Kai N. Scott, and John Frank Murphy.