Latest news from Washington, D.C. produced by Total Spectrum/SGA exclusively for members of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry
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Thanks for your interest in Washington, D.C., and thanks for reading This Week in Washington.
We try very hard to bring you news that’s both timely and accurate information, even if we need to adjust late into the night because of a changing story.
Patrick Robertson is an outstanding lawyer, advocate, and political strategist. He sent us on Tuesday night his Washington Whispers column, where he reported on what was going to happen in the Senate and the House before their August recess and previewed some Congressional activity during the balance of the calendar year. But on Wednesday, Majority Leader Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) surprised almost everyone and announced an agreement on a reconciliation package. Patrick worked on Thursday to update his column with both timely and accurate information. Tip of the hat to you Patrick, and many thanks.
Al Jackson updates us on defense and defense appropriations issues. Ramona Lessen monitored the July 26th hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism on decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level, and we’ve included her report in this edition.
Help wanted signs are really a sign of the times. Unemployment rates are remarkably low, there are as many as 11 million open jobs, and there are only about six million unemployed people. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report last week entitled Understanding America’s Labor Shortage which will lend insights to the length and breadth of the problem.
We are busy planning our schedule for the balance of the summer and the fall. We’ll share with you an interesting Spotlight interview with Kyle Zebley of the American Telemedicine Association on August 3, and then we will let our staff spend a little time with their families for a few weeks.
Congressman Erik Paulsen is planning a number of very important interviews in the fall for Total Spectrum Spotlight, and we’ll start sending out special announcements on these interviews after Labor Day.Stay well. Stay cool, and we’ll be back after Labor Day with the next issue of This Week.
Total Spectrum Managing Partner
By Patrick Robertson, Total Spectrum Strategic Consultant
Congress is racing toward its annual August recess – a break that allows members to campaign in an election year, be home with their constituents, take a little family vacation, and spend time out of Washington, D.C.’s oppressive August heat and humidity. D.C. meteorologists remind us that the last two weeks of July are almost always the city’s hottest, and the action in Congress always reaches the same fever pitch just before the August break.
This year is no exception. Both the Senate and House passed a compromise bill to encourage the domestic manufacturing of computer processing chips. This bill started as a much larger package, including some anti-China measures, a tax title, and some other pro-American manufacturing pieces. The bill has very few tax provisions and limits the incentives to semiconductor makers, but the incentives will total about $52 billion.
This bill came together because the United States lags other countries in chip making and everything in our modern society uses chips – from cars to refrigerators and laptops to doorbells. The bill does not solve critical mineral shortages or other issues, but it will significantly increase the number of semiconductors made on U.S. soil and increase the component parts made here as well.
The House is scheduled to begin its August break at the end of this week while the Senate remains in session next week to wrap up its pre-Labor Day work. One item on Senate Democrat’s to-do list is to pass a reconciliation bill.
Many words have been written in this column and elsewhere on reconciliation, and this week, Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer agreed on a reconciliation bill that includes deficit reduction, a corporate minimum tax, an increased tax rate on carried interest, the ability for the federal government to negotiate drug pricing, and a suite of energy and climate provisions. You can find a summary of the bill here as well as the full text. If the Senate passes this bill via reconciliation next week, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has indicated that the House will return to Washington the week of August 8 to pass the bill and send it to the President’s desk in time to avoid increases in health care premiums.
This deal seemed impossible just a week ago, but it seems Senators Schumer and Manchin talked down the possibility of a deal after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggested he would scuttle the semiconductor bill if Democrats moved forward with reconciliation. Once the chips bill passed, the Democrats announced their deal.
It is still not certain the bill will pass as all 50 Democrats in the Senate must be on board. The liberal wing of the party has wanted significantly more in climate change resources and less in subsidies to fossil fuels than are currently in the bill. In addition, Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has not said whether she will support the package.
At this point, most experts see Republicans winning the five seats needed to gain control of the House. Even with dismal polling for President Biden, the Senate is closer to a toss-up than it has been in recent months due to the primary results and the localization of some of the Senate races. But an adage says that no one pays attention to midterm elections until after Labor Day at the earliest. That may be less true now with the barrage of television ads, but there are still 10 weeks or so until Election Day.
There will almost certainly be a lame duck session, where the members of this 117th Congress return to Washington to finish their work before their successors in the 118th Congress take the oath in January. During the lame duck session, Congress will pass a Fiscal Year 2023 spending package to fund the government, which will be extended by a continuing resolution at the end of September. There will also be a push for a package of tax bills that propose to change the rules around interest deductibility and the research and development credit – the leading priorities for businesses – while child tax credit will be important to others. There will also be other Members who will push their priorities during the lame duck.
One Democratic Congressman told me he thought as much as half of the legislating in this Congress could happen in the two months after the election. I think that is an overestimation, especially if this new reconciliation bill passes next week, but it does show how much action is possible. It is not yet clear beyond funding the government what proposed legislation will make the cut, but what legislators hear from their constituents in August and then in November will go a long way toward shaping the lame duck agenda.
By Al Jackson, Total Spectrum Strategic Consultant
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) released its annual defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), for Fiscal Year 2023 earlier this month. It would authorize a $45 billion increase in defense spending over the budget request, to a total of $847 billion to counter the increase in inflation and the ever-increasing threat of both Russia and China. Additionally, the United States is shipping weapons to Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion of the country. The House version of NDAA, highlighted below, provided $839 billion in FY2023 authorized funding.
The legislation also provides $800 million in funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Fund. The U.S. recently sent another $400 million of weapons, bringing total U.S. security aid for the Ukrainians to $8 billion since the start of the Russian invasion. In the Pacific region, due to the influence of both Russia and China, the Senate version of NDAA increased authorized funding for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative by $1.1 billion “for unfunded requirements identified by the Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.”
By Ramona Lessen, Executive Director, Total Spectrum
Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism hearing on Decriminalizing Cannabis at the Federal Level: Necessary Steps to Address Past Harms
Tuesday, July 26, 2022; 02:30 PM
To view a livestream of the hearing please click here.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Subcommittee Ranking Member
Dr. Malik Burnett
Maryland Department of Health’s Center for Harm Reduction Services
Annapolis Police Department
President And Co-Founder
The Weldon Project
Salt Lake City, UT
Steven H. Cook
Former Associate Deputy Attorney General
Former New York Times Reporter
Hudson Valley, NY
All times ET
Monday, July 25
- 10 a.m. House Veterans’ Affairs Economic Opportunity Subcommittee field hearing on ensuring a successful military to civilian transition for service members in southern Alabama. Enterprise State Community College, Enterprise, AL.
- 10 a.m. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee field hearing on reviewing Michigan perspectives on the 2022 Census. Detroit, Mich.
Tuesday, July 26
- 10 a.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in U.S. diplomacy and development.
- 10 a.m. Senate HELP Committee hearing on the federal response to fighting fentanyl.
- 10 a.m. Senate Homeland Security Investigations Subcommittee hearing on corruption, abuse and misconduct at U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta. Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal testifies.
- 10 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on law enforcement officer safety.
- 10:15 a.m. Senate Banking Committee hearing on racism and discrimination in banking POSTPONED.
- 2 p.m. House Rules Committee business meeting to consider two bills, including one that would extend Medicare telehealth flexibilities.
- 2:30 p.m. Senate Judiciary Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism Subcommittee hearing on decriminalizing cannabis at the federal level.
Wednesday, July 27
- 9:30 a.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on ensuring U.S. global leadership for the 21st century.
- 10 a.m. House Administration Elections Subcommittee hearing on foreign and domestic sources of growing disinformation.
- 10 a.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on challenges facing global food security.
- 10 a.m. House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on “the practices and profits” of gun manufacturers.
- 10 a.m. House Small Business Committee hearing on the role of the Small Business Administration’s bond guarantee program.
- 10 a.m. House Education and Labor Committee Markup on pending legislation.
- 10 a.m. House Transportation Coast Guard Subcommittee hearing on enhancing personnel resources to support the Coast Guard.
- 10 a.m. House Veterans’ Affairs Technology Modernization Subcommittee hearing on patient safety and an electronic health record modernization program.
- 10 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on pending nominations.
- 10 a.m. House Financial Services Committee markup of various measures.
- 10 a.m. House Judiciary Committee markup of five measures, including a bill that would provide benefits for noncitizen U.S. Armed Forces members.
- 11:30 a.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on three nominations, including Puneet Talwar’s nomination to be the ambassador to Morocco.
- 2 p.m. House Homeland Security Border Security and Operations Subcommittee hearing on assessing the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s use of facial recognition technology.
- 2:30 p.m. Senate Foreign Relations Africa and Global Health Policy Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal 2023 budget request for Africa.
- 3 p.m. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on pending nominations.
Thursday, July 28
- 9 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee markup of a bill, S. 4430 , that would establish an interagency task force for patent coordination between the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Food and Drug Administration, and three nominations, and three judicial nominations, including Ana Reyes’ to be a U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia.
- 9 a.m. House Select Modernization of Congress Committee hearing on innovative approaches to fixing Congress.
- 9 a.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee closed briefing on Iran negotiations.
- 9:30 a.m. House Foreign Affairs Asia, the Pacific and Nonproliferation Subcommittee hearing on countering Gray Zone coercion in the Indo-Pacific.
- 9:30 a.m. House Oversight Government Operations Committee hearing on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act, 14.0.
- 9:30 a.m. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on four nominations, including Milancy Harris’ nomination to be a deputy under secretary of Defense for intelligence and security.
- 10 a.m. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing – Preventing Polluters from Getting Government Contracts – Bureau of Land Management’s Corporate Exclusions List.
- 10 a.m. Senate Banking Committee hearing – Protecting Investors and Savers: Understanding Scams and Risks in Crypto and Securities Markets.
- 10 a.m. House Agriculture Biotechnology and Horticulture Subcommittee hearing on the USDA hemp production program.
- 10 a.m. House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the DOJ National Security Division.
- 10 a.m. House Science Space Subcommittee hearing on cybersecurity issues for civil and commercial space systems.
- 10 a.m. House Veterans’ Affairs Oversight Subcommittee hearing on ending sexual harassment at the VA.
- 10 a.m. Senate Finance Committee Markup, re: pending nominations.
- 10 a.m. House Select Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth Committee hearing on economic security programs supporting American livelihood.
- 10 a.m. Senate Aging Committee hearing on accessible federal technology for people with disabilities, older Americans and veterans.
- 10 a.m. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee business meeting to consider pending legislation.
- 10 a.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on four ambassador nominations, including Heide Fulton’s nomination to be the ambassador to Uruguay.
- 10:15 a.m. House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing on domestic worker workplace protections.
- 10:15 a.m. Senate Finance Committee hearing on Douglas McKalip ’s nomination to be the chief agricultural negotiator within the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
- Noon. House Administration Committee hearing on the independent state legislature theory and its potential to disrupt U.S. democracy.
- 12:30 p.m. House Foreign Affairs Committee markup of six measures, including a resolution that would condemn the use of hunger as a weapon of war and would recognize the effect of conflict on global food security and famine.
- 1 p.m. House Natural Resources Indigenous Peoples Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 5549 , which would authorize advance appropriations for the Indian Health Service by providing two-fiscal-year budget authority.
- 2 p.m. House Oversight Environment Subcommittee hearing on how leaded aviation fuel is “poisoning America’s children.”
- 2 p.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on four ambassador nominations, including Shefali Razdan Duggal’s nomination to be the ambassador to the Netherlands.