Look Ahead May 22, 2023

Look Ahead to the Week of May 22: The Debt Limit Deadline Looms

The House is in session, and the Senate is out. Senators have been told to remain on standby and be prepared to return to Washington quickly in case a deal is reached on raising the debt limit.

In the past week, it was reported that ongoing negotiations between congressional staffers and the White House had been going well and there was guarded optimism that a deal could be reached. However, on Saturday, the talks stalled and both sides reported frustrations over the impasse. On Monday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and President Biden are scheduled to resume talks after Biden returned from the G-7 Summit in Japan late Sunday night. Spending cuts and caps continue to remain key sticking points. Republicans are still pushing for clawbacks on unspent COVID-19 relief funding and work requirements for social programs, including Medicaid and food assistance. Democrats have argued that defense programs, which make up about half of all federal discretionary spending, not be fenced off from cuts, although Republicans are pushing for an increase in defense spending for fiscal year 2024.

The timeline for negotiators to reach and pass a deal could now be as few as 10 days. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated that the federal government reached the statutory cap on borrowing in January and the Treasury has since been using extraordinary measures to make cash available, which is due to run out as early as June 1. If that happens, Yellen and other economists have warned it would result in a global economic meltdown, including the loss of millions of jobs.


President Biden returned to Washington after cutting short a scheduled weeklong trip to the Pacific Rim nations. He will spend this week focused on reaching an agreement with top congressional leaders on raising the debt ceiling. On Friday, Biden hosts college basketball champions from LSU and UConn at the White House.

House Side

On Monday, the House will meet to consider multiple bills under suspension.

  • Bills expected under suspension of the rules.
    • H.R. 1076 – Preventing the Financing of Illegal Synthetic Drugs Act, as amended (Rep. De La Cruz – Financial Services). The bill would require the Government Accountability Office to study illegal financing in connection with synthetic drug trafficking, including the participation of transnational criminal organizations and the use of social media.
    • H.R. 1156 – China Financial Threat Mitigation Act of 2023, as amended (Rep. Spanberger – Financial Services). The bill would require the Treasury Department to report on the exposure of the United States to China’s financial sector, including the effects of China’s reforms on the U.S. and global financial systems.
    • H.R. 366 – Korean American VALOR Act (Rep. Takano – Veterans' Affairs). The legislation would require the Veterans Affairs Department to extend healthcare benefits and related services to members of the South Korean armed forces who served in the Vietnam War.
    • H.R. 1669 – VET-TEC Authorization Act of 2023, as amended (Rep. Ciscomani – Veterans' Affairs). The legislation would modify and authorize the Veterans Affairs Department’s Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses program.
    • S. 777 – Veterans’ COLA Act of 2023 (Sen. Tester – Veterans’ Affairs). The legislation would provide disabled veterans and their families a cost-of-living adjustment to their disability and survivors’ compensation.
    • Senate Amendment to H.R. 346 – NOTAM Improvement Act of 2023 (Rep. Stauber – Transportation and Infrastructure). The bill would direct the Federal Aviation Administration to implement a new Notice to Air Missions system and establish a task force to examine how its information is shared with pilots.

Tuesday – Thursday, the House is scheduled to meet for legislative business.

  • Bills expected under a rule.
    • S.J.Res. 11 – A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under Chapter 8 of Title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) relating to the “Control of Air Pollution From New Motor Vehicles: Heavy-Duty Engine and Vehicle Standards” (Sen. Fischer – Energy and Commerce). The joint resolution would block the EPA rule that established new emission standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles.
    • H.J.Res. 45 – Providing for congressional disapproval under Chapter 8 of Title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to the “Waivers and Modifications of Federal Student Loans” (Rep. Good – Education and the Workforce). The joint resolution would block President Biden’s student debt relief plan. 
    • H.R. 467 – HALT Fentanyl Act (Rep. Griffith – Energy and Commerce/Judiciary). The legislation would permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.
    • Possible Consideration of the Veto Message to Accompany H.J.Res. 39 – Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Commerce relating to “Procedures Covering Suspension of Liquidation, Duties and Estimated Duties in Accord With Presidential Proclamation 10414” (Rep. Posey – Ways and Means).
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