Weekly Legislative Update
May 10, 2021
Congressional Outlook
The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will consider 22 bills under suspension of the rules, including several bills related to federal grant funding to address critical mental health needs, including by strengthening suicide-prevention efforts, school-based mental health services, and addressing disparities in mental health care among underserved and high-poverty communities. For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act (H.R. 2547), which subjects private debt collectors to additional restrictions when collecting money from medical patients, small businesses, private student loan borrowers, homeowners, service members, and other consumers; and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (H.R. 1065), which requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees and job applicants.

The Senate will consider Andrea Palm to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and Cynthia Marten to be Deputy Secretary of Education.

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra will testify on Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health regarding HHS’ fiscal year 2022 budget. Several Senate committees will be holding nomination hearings for various Biden Administration nominees this week, including: Shannon Estenoz to be the Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks; Radhika Fox to be the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water; Adrianne Todman to be Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Nuria Fernandez to be Federal Transit Administrator. Additional Senate committees will also vote on advancing numerous Biden Administration nominees to the full chamber for consideration, including: Tommy Beaudreau to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior; Todd Kim to be DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division; and Lina Khan to be a Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will hold a ceremonial swearing-in on Tuesday afternoon for Rep.-elect Troy Carter (D-LA), who will fill Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district seat, which has been vacant since former Rep. Cedric Richmond joined the Biden Administration in mid-January as Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Carter will add to the Democrats’ majority in the chamber, giving Democrats a 219-212 edge in the House.

On Wednesday, the 212-member House Republican Conference will vote behind closed doors and by secret ballot on whether to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her current leadership role as Chair of the House Republican Conference, the No. 3 House GOP position which she has held since January 3, 2019. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to replace Rep. Cheney as House GOP Conference Chair once she is successfully ousted.

On Monday, President Joe Biden met individually with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chair Tom Carper (D-DE) at the White House to discuss infrastructure and the American Jobs Plan. On Tuesday, Biden will meet virtually with a bipartisan group of governors from Ohio, Utah, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, and New Mexico to hear about “innovative ways governors are working to get people in their states vaccinated.” On Wednesday, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet with the top four congressional leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to discuss the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. On Thursday, Biden will hold a meeting with a group of six Senate Republicans, five of whom are Ranking Members of Senate committees with infrastructure-related jurisdiction, to discuss the American Jobs Plan: Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Roy Blunt (R-MO).
Week in Review