Bank Failures, Train Derailments, Big Tech, and Unionization at Starbucks Headline Hearing Docket for this Week on the Hill 

The House and Senate are in session his week before a two-week recess for Easter and Passover.

The House will spend the week on the Lower Energy Costs Act (H.R.1), introduced by Majority Steve Leader Steve Scalise.  This is a package of 21 bills from several committees.  Speaker McCarthy desiginated the bill H.R. 1 – signifying the importance of the legislation to House Republicans.  Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) and his team have put forward their most comprehensive whip and coalition effort to date on this bill.  With amendments and several committees involved, the bill will take up most of the floor time in the House this week.  The Senate will spend the week wrapping up legislation (S.316) to rescind the 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq. Six amendments offered by Republicans will be considered – all at 60-vote thresholds – before a vote on final passage. Following consideration of the AUMF repeal, Republicans are likely to bring up two pending resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act on the Administration’s Waters of the U.S. rule and the National Emergency Declaration. 

Over 100 hearings are lined up in the House and Senate this week, including several high-profile ones:

  • Banking failures: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Martin Gruenberg, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Michael Barr, and Undersecretary of Treasury for Domestic Finance Nellie Liang will appear before the Senate Banking (March 28) and House Financial Services (March 29) Committees for oversight hearings on federal regulators’ response to the recent closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. 
  • Big Tech: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will convene a March 28 hearing on “Preserving Free Speech and Reining in Big Tech Censorship,” which will feature testimony from “several people who’ve been silenced by Big Tech.”
  • East Palestine train derailment: The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Minerals will convene a March 29 hearing on the government’s response to East Palestine, with testimony from federal, state, and local officials. 
  • Unionization at Starbucks: Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will appear at a March 29 hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on union busting at Starbucks.

While the Fed’s decision last week on interest rates received a great deal of attention in the markets and on Capitol Hill, less noticed was its release of economic projections for the near, medium and long term.  The Federal Reserve projects .4% GDP growth for 2023 and 1.2% growth in 2024.  These are consensus projections from the Fed governors – economists vary widely on expectations for growth – so they are not fact or set in stone.  But they shouldn’t be overlooked either.  Politically, these are not great numbers.  President Biden’s biggest weakness in his polling throughout his presidency has been on the economy.  If these projections turn out to be close to accurate, the President cannot count on a surge of growth to help improve his numbers as he prepares to run for reelection.  Substantively, these anemic growth numbers present a challenge for Congress and the administration as they attempt to address the fiscal imbalance as part of the debt ceiling negotiations.  Policymakers cannot count on a surge of revenue from robust economic growth to soften the difficult fiscal choices presented by the federal government’s long term budget outlook


'A family's worst nightmare': Biden reacts to Nashville shooting, urges assault weapons ban 

USA Today 

By Joey Garrison 

March 27, 2023 – 11:35pm 

Inside the U.S. Pressure Campaign Over Israel’s Judicial Overhaul 

President Biden and his advisers bombarded the Israeli government with warnings that the country’s image as the sole democracy in the Middle East was at stake. 

The New York Times 

By David E. Sanger 

March 27, 2023 

Biden Admin Targets ‘Misuse’ of Spyware with New Executive Order 

The White House followed through on previous promises to pursue stronger oversight of commercial spyware companies and how their products are used in the U.S. 


By Alexandra Kelley 

March 27, 2023 – 12:04pm 

Biden administration threatens veto on House GOP-led energy bill 

By Betsy Klein 

March 27, 2023 – 1:07pm 

US, Japan Strike Deal on Supply of Minerals for EV Batteries 


By Shoko Oda and Eric Martin 

March 27, 2023 – 11:24pm 

Kamala Harris starts Africa tour in Ghana, announces security aid 


By Francis Kokoroko 

March 27, 2023 – 1:14pm 

Immigration fraud case brings tough First Amendment questions to the Supreme Court 


By Nina Totenberg 

March 27, 2023 – 6:28pm 

Semiconductor Firms Asked to Submit Financial Projections to Get Chips Act Funds 

Commerce Department will use financial statements to evaluate applications 

The Wall Street Journal 

By Yuka Hayashi 

March 27, 2023 – 11:04am