Following the events of the weekend, the Senate returns on Tuesday for a short week on account of Senator Diane Feinstein’s funeral. Next week, the Senate will be in recess as scheduled; the House, in a departure from its original schedule, will be in session both this week and next. There are a lot of moving parts swirling, but below is a brief view into what to expect over the next couple of weeks.
The Senate returns on Tuesday afternoon for a quick work week as Leader Schumer has announced that there will be no votes in the Senate on Thursday in order to allow members to attend Sen. Feinstein’s funeral in San Francisco. Before that, however, the Senate is expected to swear-in Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Gov. Gavin Newsom’s selection to fill out the remaining portion of Sen. Feinstein’s term.
Beyond that, this week the Senate is expected to focus on nominations, though it is possible that there could be action on a CRA and/or on moving to conference on NDAA.
Nominations: Cloture has been filed on the following nominations; the first cloture vote will occur at 5:30 on Tuesday and we expect confirmation votes for each to occur on Wednesday:
- James C. O’Brien, to be Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
- Brendan Abell Hurson, to be United States District Judge for the District of Maryland
- Susan Kim DeClercq, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan
Swearing-in: On Wednesday afternoon, Vice President Harris is expected to swear in Senator-designate Laphonza Butler (D-CA).
CFPB CRA: It is possible that the Senate will consider a resolution of disapproval, S.J.Res. 32, authored by Sen. Kennedy that would disapprove of the CFPB’s rule “Small Business Lending Under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B).”
NDAA: It is also possible that the Senate could attempt to join the House by appointing conferees and moving to a formal conference committee on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2024. However, doing so will require unanimous consent on which motions to instruct conferees will be considered. As a reminder, motions to instruct conferees are not binding, and the Senate considers them prior to appointment of the conferees.
Minibus Appropriations: Senators, and especially appropriators of both parties, would also like to strike a consent agreement that would pave the way for timely consideration of the first three-bill FY24 spending minibus (MilCon-VA; Agriculture; THUD) once Senators return from recess the week of October 16. Striking such a UC requires approval to add Agriculture and THUD to the underlying MilCon-VA bill, as well as potentially striking agreement on a list of amendments to be considered and voted on. Those discussions were underway prior to last week, at which point all attention was diverted to the short-term continuing resolution that will keep government funded through Nov. 17.
It remains TBD how/when the Senate will take up further funding for Ukraine. Additional items that could be considered later in the year include the SAFER Banking Act (cannabis banking), RECOUP Act (exec comp), Railway Safety Act, FAA reauthorization; note each of these bills has outstanding issues that could stall action.
As mentioned, in a change from Leader Scalise’s previously announced schedule, the House will be in session for the next two weeks.
Appropriations: During the upcoming two week stretch, the House is expected to return to consideration of its FY24 appropriations bills, with the Energy and Water and Legislative Branch bills on the floor this week. Next week, the House plans to consider the Interior and Transportation funding bills. It remains unclear as to whether Republicans have the votes to pass additional spending bills. Last week, the House successfully passed three of the four appropriations bills considered, failing only to pass the Agriculture spending bill.
Motion to Vacate: Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) took to the House floor earlier today, announcing his intention to offer a privileged resolution to vacate the chair later this week. The Speaker has the ability to delay consideration of the resolution for up to two legislative days. Once scheduled for consideration, motions to table, refer, or further postpone are in order. The most likely scenario is that a House Republican will move to table Gaetz’s resolution, which would require a simple majority vote. Should the motion to table fail, the House would then move to consideration of the resolution under the one-hour rule, followed by a vote on the resolution itself (which is also subject to a simple majority vote). Under House Rules, any Member may offer a privileged resolution regarding vacating the chair. Thus, if the House Rules are not changed, Rep. Gaetz (and others) could continue to offer a privileged resolution even after failing.
Given the above, the House’s schedule will remain extremely fluid over the foreseeable future. Ultimately, a resolution to the motion to vacate is needed to be able to negotiate year-end spending, the NDAA, and a potential tax package.