There are a number of issues that loom as lawmakers return to Washington
The Bounds on Resolutions of the House Correspondence Problem after the Two-Week Break: Sen. McCarthy and the Senate Judiciary Committee
After a two-week break, lawmakers are confronted with a number of critical issues, including a looming debt limit crisis and the uproar over the leak of highly classified Pentagon documents.
Even though the debt ceiling isn’t resolved in a matter of months, Republicans and the Biden administration are trying to put pressure on the other side to reach a compromise, even though an economic calamity is possible if there isn’t a resolution soon.
McCarthy will be tested in the coming weeks by how the speaker introduces his conference. It will be hard for House Republicans to find unity even though they hit a 100 day milestone, and they have faced internal disagreements over issues from the budget to the border.
The goal is to put a bill on the House floor as soon as May that could pass the narrowly divided chamber and send a signal to President Joe Biden that any legislation raising the debt ceiling must have strings attached, according to GOP sources involved in the talks.
The White House said the debt limit should be addressed immediately without brinksmanship or hostage taking, similar to how Presidents Trump and Reagan argued for in office.
It is feared that her inability to show up at the Senate Judiciary Committee will slow down judicial confirmations. Feinstein has requested that another Democrats on the committee be in charge so that the narrowly divided panel won’t be tied up on some of Biden’s more controversial picks.
It’s a request complicated by politics. Democrats have a narrow 51-49 majority in the chamber and would need 60 votes in order to essentially swap Feinstein out for another Democrat.
Senate Report on Pentagon Leaked Documents: Re-visiting Senate Resolution (after Mike Pence) and Senate Minority Representative Jerk McConnell
McConnell will be back in the Senate chamber on Monday after recovering from a fall. The office of Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman has stated that he will return to the Senate after treatment for clinical depression.
Concern and frustration from lawmakers over highly classified Pentagon documents leaked online in recent weeks will also be center stage as congressional leaders press the administration for information and details about how the damaging leak happened and what the consequences will be for allies and adversaries of the US now that sensitive intelligence has been revealed.
McCarthy said on Friday that House committees will investigate the leak. All senators will receive a briefing on the leaked documents on Wednesday afternoon, according to a Senate Democratic aide. Sources tell CNN that a classified briefing for the whole House is expected on Wednesday.
Separately, key lawmakers are continuing their review of classified documents found at the homes of Biden, former President Donald Trump, and former Vice President Mike Pence as they assess the potential fallout from those improperly stored materials.
Congress was not in session when Trump made history as he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony criminal charges of falsifying business records in a Manhattan criminal court. Republicans will be pressed by the reporters for their reaction to the developments back on Capitol Hill.
Among other legislative items, the House as early as Monday plans to vote on a bipartisan measure “condemning recent actions taken by the Russian military to down a United States Air Force drone.”
The House is also expected to take up a GOP-led resolution to block a DC policing bill. If the resolution passes the House, it would next go to the Senate.
This came after Biden signed a bill that got the DC crime bill overturned, upsetting Democrats who argued that the federal government should not interfere in the city’s affairs.
The GOP measure to overturn police reforms in Washington, DC, would be vetoed by Biden, according to a White House official.
Jeremy Biden’s confirmation hearing on the Biden-Biden bill on trans athletes: a high profile, low-rank job for a conservative congress
Democrats decried the GOP bill on trans athletes being an attack on trans youth, while the House was expected to take it up.
Julie Su, who was nominated by Biden to be labor secretary, will face scrutiny from Republicans who claim that she is too liberal to head that department. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to consider the nomination. If the nominee does well during the hearing, she will be in a good position to be confirmed.
The hearing is a two-fold opportunity for Republicans: to slam Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who recently brought criminal charges against former President Donald Trump, and to attempt to portray Democrats as being soft on crime.
There is fear among Democrats because of a high-profile battle over medication abortion. There will be a hearing on the consequences and aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Wade during the upcoming work period.
The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing about the need to restore confidence in Supreme Court ethics standards. A recent report from ProPublica said that Justice Clarence Thomas didn’t disclose that he and his wife have taken luxury trips subsidized by GOP megadonors.
The House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing on the Biden administration’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan.
The House Foreign Affairs committee will be holding a hearing on Russian crimes in Ukraine the same day. The prosecutor general is expected to testify.
Reply to the Sensitivities of Jack Teixeira, the U.S. Air Force, and Senator John Fetterman
Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested last week on suspicion of leaking classified information.
Chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee Jack Reed has called the leak a “major security breach that cannot be allowed to happen again” and said Congress will take “corrective steps.”
“More answers are still needed,” the Rhode Island Democrat said in a statement. “There are systemic issues that need to be addressed, including protocols for how intelligence is handled, the security clearance process, and how officials can prevent intelligence leaks like this from ever happening again.”
“The fact that [Teixeira] had access at all, that even he could access these documents and gain that knowledge is inappropriate, needs to be fixed, and that’s what we’re going to be addressing on Capitol Hill,” the Ohio Republican told Fox News.
Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman is also returning after an absence due to treatment for clinical depression. Fetterman sustained a stroke in May of last year and later had a pacemaker and defibrillator implanted to treat an irregular heart rhythm.
The treasury secretary said in January that the U.S. had reached the borrowing limit and that they would use extraordinary measures to pay their bills until they were exhausted. The clock is close to being reached, which means that will happen early summer.
Democratic Neglectivism in the Senate: Biden, McCarthy, and the Breakdown of the White House Investigations of Daniels’ Sexual Explosive Embedding
Negotiations between the White House and House Republicans have been stalled for months. President Biden continues to advocate for Congress to pass a clean bill and wants to see a GOP budget before continuing negotiations with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
“Without exaggeration American debt is a ticking time bomb that will detonate unless we take serious, responsible action,” McCarthy, R-Calif., warned in a speech at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.
As NPR’s Deirdre Walsh reports, the GOP bill would cap federal spending levels from those of two years ago, add a provision to put work requirements in place for adults without dependents who receive food assistance benefits, and include reforms for how new energy projects are permitted. It’s not likely that this would move forward in the Senate.
Bragg’s office is investigating the former president over a $130,000 payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels, made just before the 2016 election. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels.
The Rules committee will meet Monday to discuss legislation that would effectively prohibit school athletic programs from allowing transgender women to participate in women’s school sports programs.
This bill will not be taken up in the Senate but is a messaging bill for the GOP that will help them in the upcoming elections.