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Legislative Affairs

February 3, 2023

Biden’s State of the Union is Next Week

White House FY24 Budget Proposal to be Released on March 9th

On Tuesday, February 9th at 9pm, President Biden will give his second State of the Union address, and notably his first since Republicans narrowly flipped the House. He is expected to focus on Democratic accomplishments over the past two years to strengthen the US economy at home and abroad. He is also expected to address police reform and the parents of Tyre Nichols are expected to be guests at the speech. Some Senate Democrats have expressed renewed interest in the 2021 George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, while leading Republicans including Sen. Tim Scott have called it a nonstarter. The President is also likely to discuss his recent meeting with Speaker McCarthy and call on Congress to act early and swiftly to raise the debt ceiling.

Over this past week leading up to the State of the Union, President Biden has been crisscrossing the country to tout a number of accomplishments from the new infrastructure and CHIPS legislation. On Monday Biden traveled to Baltimore and New York City to projects including the Gateway Tunnel between New Jersey and New York. President Biden and Vice President Harris will also visit Philadelphia today to highlight the removal of lead pipes throughout the city.

March 9 FY24 Budget Release. The White House has also announced that they will release their proposed FY24 budget on March 9th. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has signaled that he wants spending levels to go back down to pre-pandemic levels, marking a stark difference between both parties’ budget priorities and signaling a tough road ahead to reach agreement on discretionary spending, for both defense and domestic programs, prior to the new fiscal year which starts October 1.

Important Reminder on Impending Member and Appropriations Committee deadlines. The President’s budget is the formal kick off of the FY24 annual Congressional appropriations process. Members of Congress are already beginning to set their internal deadlines for constituents to make recommendations and funding requests to their offices. The Appropriations Committees will also set the deadlines shortly by which Members have to submit their priorities to the Committee. We will advise you directly of specific deadlines that impact you, but we anticipate these deadlines to come quickly and be very tight, particularly in the House, so now is the time to finalize priorities. Your WSW team will continue to work with you to finalize your priorities and meet these deadlines.

Here’s what else you may have missed this week:

Biden announces end of COVID Emergency. On Monday the Biden Administration announced the COVID-19 public health emergency will officially end on May 11th after being extended 19 times over the course of three years. This decision will impact the Title 42 border policy, Medicare and Medicaid benefits and flexibilities which were expanded under the emergency (with the exception of telehealth which will largely continue through 2024), FDA emergency use authorization, as well as private health insurance which provided no cost coverage of covid vaccines, testing and treatment. It will also impact policies such as the three year long pause on student loan interest accrual and repayment. Details on the nature of the changes are sparse and officials said the administration would use the next three months to transition the response to conventional methods, warning that an immediate end to the emergency authorities would create wide-ranging chaos and uncertainty.

House kicks off hearings by targeting the Biden Administration. The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled “The Biden Border Crisis: Part I” while the Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a hearing titled “Federal Pandemic Spending: A Prescription for Waste Fraud and Abuse.” Republicans are coming out swinging against what they have deemed wasteful spending and mismanagement by the Biden Administration. These types of hearings will only pick up in pace in the weeks and months to come.

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