Washington Update - May 6, 2024

Billy Moore    Dc2

The long-awaited fireworks of Republican Representative Marjorie Greene’s motion to remove Mike Johnson from the speaker’s office may turn into a fizzle this week as a bipartisan majority seems likely to table or dismiss the motion. By isolating the hardline wing of the House Republican conference and achieving a temporary detente with Democrats, Johnson is both poised to more effectively govern and likely to face repeated efforts by the hardliners to remove him.

Last week, the House approved a bill to combat antisemitism, originally meant to embarrass Democrats but bipartisan in the end, with a significant number of no votes coming from both parties, including Republican hardliners.

Seeking a few more concrete accomplishments before election season ends legitimate legislating, bipartisan House and Senate negotiators agreed to a compromise aviation reauthorization bill on Monday. Senators took up the bill, which may be the last major bill that reaches President Joe Biden’s desk before the Lame Duck session this fall.

Besides disputes over the bill’s provisions, such as adding flights to Reagan-Washington National Airport, Senators have filed more than 90 amendments they hope will catch a ride on the last legislative train out of the station. With only four legislative days remaining before the current authorization expires, a short-term extension is likely before Congress can complete action on the long-term bill.

There was also action – not bipartisan – last week on the Farm Bill, the current authority for which expires September 30. House and Senate Agriculture committee leaders proposed vastly different competing proposals, with two of the most significant disputes involving nutrition and conservation programs. The disagreements make it most likely long-term action will be deferred into 2025.

A variety of economic reports on economic and job growth, wages, and corporate earnings point to a slowing but steadily growing economy, suggesting a Federal Reserve interest rate cut this fall.