This week in Congress, the House will consider reconciliation legislation on the floor, both chambers will hold hearings on the January 6th attack on the Capitol, and the Senate will continue to hold hearings on President Biden’s nominees.
The House is preparing this week to bring reconciliation legislation to the House floor. The House budget committee has assembled the reconciliation legislation (check out the Prolegis preview of the legislative text with redlines of the U.S. Code), incorporating the recommendations from the nine committees that approved reconciliation recommendations last week. The budget committee is expected to approve the legislation when it is considered on Monday. If approved, the Rules Committee may make substantive changes. The Rules Committee will need to incorporate the reconciliation recommendations from the remaining House committees (Foreign Affairs, Natural Resources, Science, Space, and Technology) and may need to find offsets to keep the legislation below the $1.9 trillion limit in S. Con. Res. 5. The House is expected to consider the legislation on the floor later in the week (see the “Legislative Schedule” section below for more on the House schedule).
Also this week, both chambers of Congress will hold hearings to examine the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch will hold two hearings: a hearing with the acting Sergeant at Arms and Acting Chief of Police to probe the Jan. 6th security failures; and, a hearing on the health and wellness of employees and state of damage and preservation. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Rules and Administration Committees will hold a joint hearing examining the January 6 attack.
The Senate will continue consideration of President Biden’s nominations, with a number of hearings on nominees such as Attorney General, HHS and Interior Secretaries, and newly imperiled nominee for OMB director, Neera Tanden (see the Legislative Schedule section below for more information on nominee hearings).
Next phase of coronavirus relief bill sprint to start Monday. Roll Call. Feb. 18, 2021.
“House Democrats will take a key procedural step on Monday toward moving their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.”
“Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has scheduled a 1 p.m. markup to staple together the reconciliation submissions from nine House authorizing committees before sending the measure onto its last stop before the floor, the Rules Committee.”
“Rules is where the substantive changes will occur, including the likely necessary step of bringing the combined package into compliance with its overall $1.89 trillion limit under the fiscal 2021 budget resolution. The nine committees have so far approved pieces the Congressional Budget office has tallied up to $1.95 trillion.”
COVID-19 aid insurance language splits experts on necessity, scope. Roll Call. Feb. 19, 2021.
Biden may issue executive orders to address SolarWinds hack. Roll Call. February 17, 2021.
“President Joe Biden is likely to address the various security gaps that led to the SolarWinds hack that has thus far exposed at least nine U.S. federal agencies and about 100 U.S. companies, Anne Neuberger, the White House deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, said Wednesday.”
“‘We are working on close to about a dozen things; likely eight will pass. They’ll be part of an upcoming executive action to address the gaps we’ve identified in our review of this incident,’” Neuberger said at her first White House briefing since being named to coordinate the U.S. government response to the hack.”
Democrats plan crackdown on rising drug costs. The Hill. Feb. 21, 2021.
“Democrats are hoping 2021 will be the year they accomplish their long-held goal of reining in rising prescription drug costs by allowing the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies.”
“The proposal is largely opposed by Republicans and loathed by the pharmaceutical industry, but Democrats think they have a chance of getting it done with control of the White House and Congress.”
“Price negotiations could be included later this year in a reconciliation bill, a fast-track budgetary move that only needs 51 votes to pass the Senate and can’t be filibustered.”
Trump’s energy plan was vacated and Obama’s is outdated. What’s next?. Roll Call. Feb. 17, 2021.
“A month after a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., vacated the Trump administration’s primary regulation on electric power generation, a top air pollution official at EPA said the agency will not reactivate the Clean Power Plan, the Obama-era emissions rule for utilities that Trump's EPA tried to replace.”
The acting administrator for EPA’s air office, Joseph Goffman, said in a memo Friday that reinstating the Obama-era plan — a pollution rule that set tougher standards than the agency did during the Trump administration — would ‘not make sense.’”
“The EPA has not issued a formal plan to knock down utility-sector pollution, but climate advocates, Biden administration allies and congressional testimony provide clues about what such a plan may and may not entail, and Democrats in Washington have a number of regulatory and legislative options to pursue their goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
The jockeying to replace Neera Tanden has begun. Politico. Feb. 20, 2021.
Texas and California built different power grids, but neither stood up to climate change. Politico. Feb. 21, 2021.
Democratic women sound alarm on female unemployment. The Hill. Feb. 21, 2021.
Report: Pandemic put US on track to meet Paris climate goals. Roll Call. Feb. 18, 2021.
The pandemic knocked the U.S. back on track to meet its targets in the Paris climate accord, and renewable energy saw a record-setting level of deployment in 2020 as coal consumption dwindled, figures from an independent report released Thursday show, while transportation emissions are expected to jump as the country gets the virus under control.
Biden invests $1.6 billion in COVID-19 tests, genomic sequencing
“The Biden administration plans to invest $1.6 billion toward improving COVID-19 testing and genomic sequencing of the coronavirus while it waits for lawmakers to approve more funds through the congressional COVID-19 relief package.”
“The Department of Health and Human Services will partner with the Department of Defense to make a $650 million investment to expand testing in K-8 schools and congregate settings, such as homeless shelters. The departments will help create testing hubs that partner with laboratories across the country and expect to perform an additional 25 million tests per month.”
“HHS and DOD will also make an $815 million investment in increasing domestic manufacturing of testing supplies and raw materials, including filter pipette tips, nitrocellulose used in antigen point-of-care tests and specific injected molded plastics needed to house testing reagents.”
Finally, the CDC will increase genomic sequencing of the virus with a $200 million investment in expanding sequencing capabilities including bioinformatics, reporting and modeling.”
Winter weather delays vaccine shipments to all 50 states. Roll Call. Feb. 19, 2021.
Democrats attack Robinhood for its halt to GameStop trading. Roll Call. Feb. 18, 2021.
Hill Democrats unveil immigration bill backed by White House. Roll Call. Feb. 18, 2021.
President Joe Biden’s promised comprehensive immigration legislation hit the Hill on Thursday…’It’s our vision of what immigration reform should look like. And it’s a bill we can all be proud of,’ Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is introducing the bill in the Senate, said at a virtual press conference.”
“The 353-page draft bill would mark the first drastic overhaul of the U.S. immigration system in years. It would include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, including so-called Dreamers brought to the U.S. as children, ease the green card process for families and eliminate a rule requiring foreign citizens to apply for asylum within one year of entering the U.S., among other sweeping changes.”
“But Menendez acknowledged passing such a bill is ‘not going to be easy, and we recognize that.’ Democrats hold just a slim majority in the Senate, and would need the support of at least 10 Republicans for the bill to move forward.”
U.S. alleges wider Oath Keepers conspiracy, adds more defendants in Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Washington Post. Feb. 19, 2021.
“U.S. authorities on Friday alleged a broader conspiracy by Oath Keepers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, charging six new individuals who appeared to be members or associates of the right-wing group.”
“A 21-page indictment alleged that the defendants “did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with each other and others known and unknown” to force entry to the Capitol and obstruct Congress from certifying the election of Joe Biden as president in riots that led to five deaths and assaults on 139 police.”
Biden resets his own Covid goalposts at CNN town hall. Politico. Feb. 16, 2021.
“President Joe Biden touched down in Middle America on Tuesday and started laying down markers.
“People who want a vaccine will be able to get one by the end of July, he promised.”
“Within 100 days, close to every schoolchild in America will be able to go back five days a week.”
‘A pathway to citizenship would be essential to any immigration reform bill.”
“They were the type of pledges that could come back to haunt a politician. But Biden is, if nothing else, a seasoned politician. And often, during his CNN town hall, the pledges came with caveats.”
Broadband funding caught up in debate over reopening schools. Feb. 17, 2021.
“At a markup last Friday of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s budget reconciliation recommendations, which include the funding proposal, Republicans said providing additional money for remote learning would slow down the reopening of schools. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., offered an amendment that would only provide the funds to schools providing in-person instruction.”
Monday, February 22
Tuesday, February 23rd
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. for legislative business, with votes postponed until 6:30 p.m.
The House will consider six suspension bills.
Wednesday, February 24th and the balance of the week
On Wednesday and Thursday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for Morning Hour debate and 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.
On Friday, the House will meet at 9:00 a.m. for legislative business.
Members are advised that votes are possible through the weekend.
The House is expected to consider:
H.R. 5, the Equality Act (Rep. Cicilline (D-RI) – Judiciary) (Subject to a Rule)
H.R. 803 – Protecting America's Wilderness and Public Lands Act (Rep. DeGette (D-CO) – Natural Resources) (Subject to a Rule)
Consideration of the American Rescue Plan
The Senate will convene for Legislative Business at 3:00pm Monday, February 22. The Senate will resume consideration of the nominations of Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations and Thomas Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture.
Senate Committee Schedule for Biden’s Nominees
Monday, February 22
Tuesday. February 23
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs AND Rules and Administration: hearing at 10:00 Examining the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Energy and Natural Resources: hearing at 9:30am to consider the nomination of the Honorable Debra Haaland to be the Secretary of the Interior.
Judiciary: hearing at 10:00am to consider the nomination of the Honorable Merrick Garland to be Attorney General (Day 2).
Health, Education, Labor & Pensions: hearing at 10:00am to consider the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Wednesday, February 24
Finance: hearing at 2:30pm to consider the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Small Business & Entrepreneurship: hearing at 2:30pm to consider the nomination of Isabella Casillas Guzman to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
Budget: hearing at 10:00am to consider the nomination of Neera Tanden to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget.