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September 13, 2022
Federal Update
The House and Senate are back in town for a three-week sprint before the midterm elections. There are 56 days until Election Day.

This is a Big Week for President Joe Biden
Biden will finally get his White House celebration for the Inflation Reduction Act. The president and Vice President Kamala Harris will headline an event Tuesday with lawmakers, advocates and guests on the South Lawn of the White House. “Thousands of people” are expected for this event, although the details are still up in the air.

Biden will be in Boston on Monday to talk about the “Cancer Moonshot” at the JFK Library and Museum. It’s the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s “Moonshot” speech. On Wednesday, Biden is in Detroit for the annual auto show. He’ll focus on domestic EV manufacturing in that appearance. On Thursday, Biden will speak at the “United We Stand Summit” to combat hate and extremism. Biden will also attend the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala. Biden meets with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday. And on Saturday, Biden and First Lady Jill Biden travel to England for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. That funeral will take place on Sept. 19.

As for what’s happening on the Hill, there’s a lot of TBD right now. The Senate will take up several circuit court nominations this week while negotiations continue on a short-term government funding bill and same-sex marriage legislation. The House – back for the first time in a month – will vote on several transparency measures.

The continuing resolution to keep federal agencies open past September 30 is still under discussion, and floor action isn’t expected this week. The end date for the CR is still likely to be Dec. 16. What will be attached to the CR is the sticking point.

Floor action on the CR will begin in the Senate, likely next week. As always, nothing can happen in the Senate without consent. There is no danger of a shutdown, of course. It’s just that lawmakers need to get a deal before they can go home to campaign.

The White House is seeking $47 billion in funding for Ukraine, Covid, monkeypox and disaster relief. The Covid funding request – as it has for months – is running into GOP opposition. Republicans believe that the White House should reprogram funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to meet any needs for vaccines, tests and therapeutics.

Biden is seeking more than $13 billion in Ukraine-related funding as part of this latest package. Following the stunning battlefield successes by Ukrainian forces during the last few days – developments that have shocked official Washington – this request looks all but guaranteed. It was anyway. But winning makes it that much easier.

A Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised a vote on a same-sex marriage bill this month. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are floating a “religious liberty” amendment to the underlying proposal. The earliest that floor action is likely on this measure – if there’s an agreement – is late in the week. 

The Capitol is Returning to Normal – Almost 
The public will be allowed into the Senate chamber starting today as part of the “Phase 3” reopening, the Sergeant at Arms told Senate offices last week. Beginning 30 minutes before the Senate comes into session, two public galleries will open to visitors. These galleries will remain open until adjournment. When the Senate isn’t in session, the galleries will be open from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Tickets are available through Senate offices.

On the House side, expect the Sergeant at Arms to announce the “Phase 3” reopening this week as well. And starting today, members can bring tour groups into the House public galleries while the chamber is in session. A member or staffer must stay with those visitors while they’re in the galleries. Members can also make appointments to bring tour groups onto the floor when the House is out of session.  

House and Senate Office Buildings are Open to the Public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  
These latest moves by the House and Senate come as the Supreme Court will reopen to the public for the first time in two-and-a-half years when it begins a new session in October. The White House is already open for public tours. 

The Larkin Hoffman Government Relations Team
    Margaret Vesel

Matthew Bergeron

Peter Coyle
Bill Griffith
  Grady Harn  Megan Knight
Peder Larson

  Robert Long
Gerald Seck 
Brandan Strickland

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This newsletter is provided as a service to our clients and firm associates. While the information provided in this newsletter is believed to be accurate, it is general in nature and should not be construed as legal advice.