Washington Update - June 20, 2022

Billy Moore    Dc2

The most functional committees in Congress, Armed Services and Appropriations, began writing their annual authorization and spending bills last week. Behind the scenes, leaders sought to make progress on compromises needed to pass the China competition and budget reconciliation bills. The Senate passed bipartisan legislation for veterans sickened by open burn pits. Representatives passed a partisan bill to tackle rising inflation. The Federal Reserve boosted interest rates by 0.75 percent, reminding Washington that inflation is the issue that counts in 2022.

Six House Appropriations subcommittees approved their spending bills last week, with the other six subcommittees scheduled for next week. Full committee markups should be completed the week of June 27 with floor votes planned in July. After the Biden Administration reallocated funding to replenish depleted coronavirus response accounts, Republicans declared his supplemental spending request dead, probably moving Republican immigration and border security amendments to another vehicle and eroding already thin prospects for immigration reform legislation this year.

The Senate Armed Services Committee reported its bipartisan Defense Authorization bill Thursday. The House committee will mark up its version next week. The final product will no doubt vastly increase spending authority above the amounts requested by President Biden.

There are substantial differences on defense policy and spending priorities between the House and Senate, Democrats and Republicans, suggesting final bills are unlikely to be approved before the November election. Republicans will decide whether final action takes place in a Lame Duck session or in 2023, when they expect to take control of the House and Senate.

The Senate continues to work toward a bipartisan gun safety bill, although grass-roots pressure may cause Republicans to back away. 

Republican frustration is growing with the House committee on the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol that is centering responsibility for the insurrection on former President Donald Trump.