Congress is in for a Short Week

The House and Senate are in session for an abbreviated week, through Wednesday, when both chambers will adjourn so members can attend the ceremonies in Normandy commemorating the 80th anniversary of D-Day.  President Biden, along with over 100 Members of Congress and Senators will travel to Normandy. In 1984, President Reagan gave one of his most famous speeches at the 40th anniversary of D Day:

“The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms … These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.” – Ronald Reagan’s remarks at the 40th anniversary of D-Day

The House plans to bring the first FY2025 Appropriations bill to the floor this week, with consideration of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R.8580); House leaders are confident they can pass the MilCon-VA bill, which is historically one of the least controversial Appropriations measures. The House will also vote on the Illegitimate Court Counteraction Act (H.R.8282), which would authorize sanctions on the International Criminal Court in response to its warrant for the arrest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

Majority Leader Steve Scalise has released a full schedule for floor consideration of all 12 Appropriations bills before the August recess. The House is scheduled to be in session just 22 days between now and the August recess. Given Republicans’ narrow majority, challenging fiscal constraints, and the inclusion of controversial policy riders, House leaders expect it will become difficult to pass individual bills, but they hope to complete consideration of as many as possible.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced in a “Dear Colleague” letter over the weekend that the Senate would hold a procedural vote on Wednesday on the Right to Contraception Act (S.1999), which is intended to highlight how Democrats “will fight to preserve reproductive freedoms” ahead of the two-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. Schumer hinted “there will be more action to come after that.”

Meanwhile, a group of 8 Senate Republicans issued a joint statement following the conviction of former President Trump, in which they vowed to oppose “any increase to non-security related funding for this administration, or any appropriations bill which funds partisan lawfare”; confirmation of “this administration’s political and judicial appointees”; and “expedited consideration and passage of Democrat legislation or authorities that are not directly relevant to the safety of the American people.” 


Congressional Agenda

Appropriations and the President’s FY2025 Budget: The House Appropriations Committee will continue markups at the Subcommittee level this week for Homeland Security (on Tuesday, at 8:30AM), State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (on Tuesday, at 10AM), Defense (closed) (on Wednesday, at 8AM), and Financial Services and General Government (on Wednesday, at 8:30AM).

Intelligence Authorization Act and National Defense Authorization Act: The House Intelligence Subcommittees on the National Intelligence EnterpriseDefense Intelligence and Overhead ArchitectureNational Security Agency and Cyber, and Central Intelligence Agency will convene in closed sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday for markups of the FY2025 Intelligence Authorization Act, which traditionally passes into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The Senate Intelligence Committee advanced its version by a unanimous 17-0 vote late last month. 

The House plans to vote next week on the Servicemember Quality of Life Improvement and National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.8070). The floor amendment deadline was Friday and 1,146 amendments were submitted to the Rules Committee.

Privacy and Section 230: Ahead of the recess, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce advanced a revised version of the American Privacy Rights Act (H.R.___), which contains a version of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act 2.0. However, the legislation remains a discussion draft, given the various issues that still need to be worked through, and industry trade associations continue to raise concerns. For example, the Business Roundtable recently sent a letter detailing concerns regarding the private right of action and scope of federal preemption. Additionally, House Republican leadership has outlined their concerns, which include the private right of action, preemption, impacts on targeted advertising, and expansion of Federal Trade Commission authorities.  

Nevertheless, Energy and Commerce plans to proceed with the Committee-level markup, as soon as next week, on a new draft. However, even if the bill advances, it is unlikely to come to the floor unless the concerns raised by leadership are addressed – and if the necessary changes are made, it would likely cost the support of Democrats.  

The Committee markup is also expected to include: 

  • The Kids Online Safety Act (H.R.7891), which was also approved by the Subcommittee.
  • The Section 230 Sunset Act (H.R.___), which is highly unlikely to be considered on the House floor in its current form. There are significant concerns that this would negatively impact small business and innovation. 
  • AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act (H.R.8449), which would effectively mandate that motor vehicles provide access to AM broadcast stations. The Committee has been working closely with Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-TX). 

Artificial Intelligence: A pair of AI-related hearings are lined up this week, with the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security convening a hearing (on Tuesday, at 10AM) to examine the impacts of increased load growth from AI and data centers on grid reliability and affordable electricity and the Joint Economic Committee convening a hearing (on Tuesday, at 2:30PM) to examine AI’s potential to fuel economic growth and improve governance. 

Oversight: Several notable oversight-related hearings are lined up this week, including:

Affordable Connectevity Program: The Federal Communications Commission’s ACP, which established a subsidy for monthly internet access, expired at the end of May in the absence of additional funding, although several providers have volunteered to continue providing low-cost offers. There are currently several bills under consideration to extend ACP, with reforms intended to garner Republican support now being discussed. The White House has urged Congress to act and, with a degree of bipartisan and bicameral momentum, this could possibly attach to a moving vehicle. 

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) has introduced the Spectrum and National Security Act (S.4207), which would support renewed funding with spectrum auction proceeds. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband Chair Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) are working on a proposal that mirrors Cantwell’s while also folding ACP within the Universal Service Fund and establishing guardrails, such as eligibility requirements. Finally, Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY) recently introduced the Affordable Connectivity Program Improvement and Extension Act (H.R.8466), which would extend ACP through the end of the year, with reforms, but the use of existing federal funding as a pay-for has issues and the bill falls under the jurisdiction of 8 different committees. 


Biden Administration

  • The President and First Lady will host the White House Congressional Picnic before leaving for Paris, France, from Joint Base Andrews.
  • On Thursday, the President will deliver remarks and participate in engagements to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.
  • On Friday, the President will deliver remarks at Pointe du Hoc, France, about the importance of defending freedom and democracy.
  • On Saturday, President Emmanuel Macron of France will host the President and First Lady for a State Visit.