Both the House and Senate will be in session this week.
Senate appropriators plan to bring to the floor a three-bill package funding Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD for fiscal year 2024. The bills received unanimous support during their committee markups. However, they and the remaining spending packages face an uncertain future in the lower chamber. Meanwhile, the House has moved forward with its versions of the appropriations bills along partisan lines with topline spending figures $58 billion below the limits agreed to as part of the debt ceiling deal.
Congress will likely need to pass a stopgap measure to avoid a government shutdown before funding expires on September 30. The duration of any short-term extension isn’t yet clear, with some observers indicating it could be as short as four weeks and others signaling it could run into December. Regardless of the duration of a continuing resolution (CR), members of the conservative Freedom Caucus have threatened to vote against any government funding bills that do not meet their demands, such as border security funding and restricting abortion rights. Additionally, there is growing opposition from House Republicans over the push to include additional aid to Ukraine and disaster relief efforts in any CR.
The House will vote this week on its defense appropriations bill, which moved through the Appropriations Committee without any support from Democrats. Democrats were critical of the bill because it included provisions from Republicans that would block diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in the military.
The Senate will also focus on regulating artificial intelligence (AI) this week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will host an AI forum that will include key tech executives, such as Sam Altman (Open AI), Elon Musk (Tesla), Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg (Meta), as well as civil rights and union labor groups. This event will be the first in a series of meetings that Schumer plans to host throughout the fall as the Senate begins drafting comprehensive legislation to regulate AI technologies.
Lawmakers must also make progress on the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization legislation and the Farm Bill before spending expires on September 30. The bills almost certainly won’t be ready by then, requiring an extension of current policies for those programs.
On Monday, President Biden departed from Hanoi, Vietnam, where he visited with Vietnamese officials, to travel to Anchorage, Alaska. There, he’ll deliver remarks on the anniversary of 9/11 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson before returning to the White House.
On Tuesday, the House will meet to consider multiple bills under suspension.
- Bills expected under suspension of the rules.
- H.R. 3152 – Fight CRIME Act, as amended (Rep. McCaul – Foreign Affairs). The bill would require the president to impose sanctions against individuals who support Iran’s missile program.
- H.R. 589 – MAHSA Act (Rep. Banks – Foreign Affairs). The bill would require the president to determine on an annual basis whether specific Iranian government officials and affiliated entities have engaged in human rights abuses and should be sanctioned using existing authorities.
- H.Res. 492 – Condemning the Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of the Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights (Rep. Schakowsky – Foreign Affairs).
- H.R. 1567 – ACRES Act, as amended (Rep. Tiffany – Natural Resources). The legislation would require the Agriculture and Interior departments to track and report on their vegetation management activities to reduce the risk of wildfires.
- H.R. 1450 – Treating Tribes and Counties as Good Neighbors Act (Rep. Fulcher – Natural Resources). The legislation would permit counties and Indian tribes to retain revenue generated from timber sales under a good neighbor agreement.
- H.R. 3389 – Emergency Wildfire Fighting Technology Act of 2023 (Rep. Valadao – Natural Resources). The bill would require the Agriculture and Interior departments to jointly evaluate the container aerial firefighting system to assess its use to mitigate and suppress wildfires and report findings to Congress.
- H.R. 3324 – To extend the authority to collect Shasta-Trinity Marina fees through fiscal year 2029 (Rep. Huffman – Natural Resources). The legislation would extend through fiscal year 2029 the Agriculture Department’s authority to collect marina fees from the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California for direct operating or capital costs.
Wednesday – Thursday, the House is scheduled to meet for legislative business.
- Bills expected under a rule.
- H.R. 4365 – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2024 (Rep. Calvert – Appropriations). The measure would provide the Pentagon and defense-related activities with $826.4 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal 2024.
- H.R. 1435 – Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act (Rep. John Joyce – Energy and Commerce). The measure would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from granting waivers for vehicles emissions laws to states that directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new gas-powered cars.
On Monday, the Senate will resume consideration of Tanya Bradsher’s nomination to be deputy secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Schumer has also filed cloture on the House-passed Military Construction-VA spending bill, which will be used to consider the Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA, and Transportation-HUD spending bills.