Congress is in before Recessing for Next Week's Republican National Convention

With August recess rapidly approaching, both chambers will work to advance legislation on the floor and in committee, but nothing of significance is expected to be signed into law this month. The House will work to pass as many FY2025 Appropriations bills on the floor as possible and complete the markup process while the Senate will begin to move spending bills through the Appropriations Committee.

The House Rules has prepared for floor consideration of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act (H.R.8772and four other measures:

  • Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act (H.R.8281), which would require documentary proof of citizenship as a condition for voter registration and establish penalties for registering non-citizens to vote in federal elections.
  • Congressional Review Act resolution (H.J.Res.165to overturn the Department of Education’s final rule on nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.
  • Refrigerator Freedom Act (H.R.7637and Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards Act (H.R.7700), which would prohibit the Secretary of Energy from implementing energy conservation standards for refrigerators and dishwashers (respectively) that are not cost-effective or technologically feasible.

The House will also hold suspension votes today on a half-dozen bills from the Natural Resources Committee, including:

  • Royalty Resiliency Act (H.R.7377), which would improve the management of royalties from oil and gas lease sales by ensuring the federal government only charges operators a percentage equivalent to their land ownership.
  • Water Monitoring and Tracking Essential Resources Data Improvement Act (H.R.5770), which would reauthorize the U.S. Geological Survey’s Federal Priority Streamgage and groundwater monitoring programs through FY2028.
  • Accelerating Appraisals and Conservation Efforts Act (H.R.5443), which would codify policy for property appraisals and valuations for transactions over which the Secretary of the Interior has jurisdiction.

After the Senate reconvenes this afternoon, it will vote, at 5:30PM, on the confirmation of Nancy Maldonado to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Before the Senate recess, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced plans to hold a vote on the Reproductive Freedom for Women Act, which would express support for protecting access to reproductive healthcare and codifying protections enshrined in Roe v. Wade.


Presidential Election Update

The presidential election is now in full swing and dominating attention, even with Congress back in session. The political damage to President Biden following the June 27 debate was significant and his interview with ABC News on Friday night did little to allay the situation – and may even have exacerbated it. Trump and Republicans have, for the most part, stepped back and let Democrats (and the media) take the lead in going after Biden.

For now, the President is unlikely to step aside, unless a significant number of Democratic officials openly pressure him to step aside. Here is where things stand:

  • House: Five Members – Reps. Lloyd Doggett of Texas, Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, Angie Craig of Minnesota, and Mike Quigley of Illinois – publicly called on Biden to withdraw during the recess while four Committee Ranking Members – Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York (Judiciary), Adam Smith of Washington (Armed Services), Mark Takano of California (Veterans’ Affairs), and Joseph Morelle of New York (Administration) – reportedly told leadership on a call yesterday that Biden should withdraw. However, many House Democrats remain publicly in Biden’s corner. House Democrats plan to meet tomorrow morning, where we expect Biden to be the main topic.
  • Senate: Democrats who have spoken publicly have supported Biden to this point, though Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a key moderate, reportedly sought to organize a meeting to discuss the situation, which has now been scrapped after news of Warner’s plans leaked late last week.
  • Governors: Biden held an in-person and virtual meeting with Democratic Governors on Wednesday and most emerged with statements of public support, though some have questioned their motives (i.e., viability for a future presidential run) and how long that support will hold.

If the President intends to stay in the race, as he insists, he effectively “controls” 95% of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention, who were mostly handpicked by the campaign, meaning he will only lose the nomination if he chooses to give it up. If Biden steps aside, Vice President Kamala Harris will almost certainly be the nominee (for political, financial, and process reasons, among others), although Democrats will likely have a chaotic internal debate over the nominee before settling on Harris.

The President will host the NATO Summit in Washington this week, which will give him an opportunity to show leadership on the world stage – and it is extremely unlikely he would make any announcement about the presidential election during the Summit, although he is sure to be asked about it at his press conference on Thursday. Next week, attention will turn to the Republican National Convention and the announcement of former President Trump’s running mate. This means the drama and debate over the Democratic nomination will likely continue for at least a few more weeks.


Congressional Agenda 

Appropriations and the President’s FY2025 Budget: The House Appropriations Committee is on track to complete its markups of FY2025 spending bills by Wednesday:

  • Tuesday, beginning at 9AM: Markup of the Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, and Energy-Water Development Appropriations Bills.
  • Wednesday, beginning at 9AM: Markup of the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture-Rural Development-Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Bills and Revised Subcommittee Allocations.

The Senate Appropriations Committee plans to begin markups on Thursday (at 9:30AM), starting with consideration of Subcommittee Allocations and the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Agriculture-Rural Development-FDA, and Legislative Branch Appropriations Bills.

Meanwhile, a few budget-related hearings are lined up this week:

American Privacy Rights Act (H.R.8818): Prior to last week’s recess, the House Energy and Commerce Committee abruptly cancelled a full Committee markup of the American Privacy Rights Act, which was officially filed by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and the Chair and Ranking Member of the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee. Significant opposition from Committee Republicans and pressure from Republican leadership, who believe the bill needs work before it is ready for floor action, prompted the decision. The path forward is not yet clear.  


Biden Administration

  • Today, the President will deliver remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO.
  • On Wednesday, the President will drop by a meeting of national union leaders at the AFL-CIO and then participate in the NATO Summit, including by welcoming NATO Allied Leaders, participating in Working Session I, and hosting an official arrival ceremony and dinner.
  • On Thursday, the President will participate in Working Sessions II and III of the NATO Summit and in an event on the Ukraine Compact and then host a press conference.
  • On Friday, the President will travel to Detroit, Michigan, for a campaign event, and then depart for Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.