The Senate and House have returned from a two-week recess with a laundry list of legislative goals over the next few months, including addressing freight rail accidents, transgender athletes, firefighter assistance programs, and war powers authorization. Further, discussions around raising the debt limit will begin to accelerate as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is scheduled to give a speech about the state of the economy before the New York Stock Exchange, with a specific focus on why any increase to the debt limit must be partnered with substantial spending cuts. House Republicans also plan to publish their own legislative draft for addressing the debt ceiling in the coming weeks, including provisions that would lift the ceiling until May 2024 while slowing spending growth over 10 years, rolling back student debt relief and federal regulations, and boosting domestic energy production.
On the Senate side, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) will both return from delayed absences due to health problems. However, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) remains out due to an ongoing case of the shingles. Her absence from the Judiciary Committee denies Senate Democrats a functional majority on that committee, which they need to move judicial nominees to the floor absent bipartisan support. While she has requested that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) appoint a temporary replacement, he is unable to do so without GOP support. In the midst of this impasse, Feinstein is also facing calls to resign from fellow Democratic lawmakers Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Dean Phillips (D-MN).
Senators will also receive a classified briefing this week on the recent leak of secret Pentagon documents detailing intelligence gleaned from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has been considered one of the biggest U.S. intelligence leaks in over a decade.
On Thursday, President Biden will host Colombian President Gustavo Petro at the White House.
On Monday, the House will meet to consider multiple bills under suspension.
- Bills expected under suspension of the rules
- H.R. 1149 – Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act, as amended (Rep. Wild – Foreign Affairs). The bill would require the State Department to report on telecommunications equipment and services that are deemed to pose national security risks and used in U.S. embassies and allied countries’ networks.
- H.R. 1151 – Upholding Sovereignty of Airspace Act, as amended (Rep. Meeks – Foreign Affairs). The bill would permit the President to impose sanctions on individuals who directly manage and oversee China’s global surveillance balloon program.
- H. Res. 240 – Condemning recent actions taken by the Russian military to down a U.S. Air Force drone, as amended (Rep. Brandon Williams – Foreign Affairs). The legislation would issue a House condemnation of actions taken by the Russian military to down a U.S. military drone over the Black Sea on March 14.
Tuesday – Thursday, the House is scheduled to meet for legislative business.
- Bills expected under a rule
- Possible Consideration of the Veto Message to Accompany H. J. Res. 27 – Providing for congressional disapproval under Chapter 8 of Title 5, U.S. Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to “Revised Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” (Rep. Sam Graves – Transportation and Infrastructure). The 2023 WOTUS rule reinstates a standard to determine jurisdictional water bodies using a “significant nexus” test and is currently facing a Supreme Court challenge in Sackett v. EPA.
- H. J. Res. 42 – Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2022 (Rep. Clyde – Oversight and Accountability). The measure would block a Washington, D.C. law overhauling police practices, including the use of neck restraints and body cameras.
- H.R. 734 – Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023 (Rep. Steube – Education and the Workforce). The legislation would generally ban transgender girls who were assigned male at birth from participating in school athletic activities designated for women or girls.
On Monday, the Senate will resume consideration of the nomination of Radha Iyengar Plumb to be a deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment. A cloture vote also is likely on the nomination of Amy Lefkowitz Solomon to be an assistant attorney general.
Additionally, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to resume action on the Fire Grants and Safety Act (S. 870) after taking procedural steps before the recess. The measure would reauthorize expiring programs that states use in their firefighting programs.