DWPA logo

Legislative Affairs

February 17, 2023

CBO Analysts Warn of Earlier Default

House in Recess, Senate Focuses on Judicial Confirmations and Appropriations

This week in Congress the Senate cleared their 100th judicial nominee for President Biden, exceeding the pace Republicans set under President Trump and Democrats set under President Obama. With 87 more current vacancies and 46 pending nominations, Biden is well positioned to put his stamp on the court system. While both chambers are in recess next week, their members will stay busy traveling internationally on a CODEL to Germany to attend the Munich Security Conference. Items of discussion will undoubtedly include Russia’s renewed offensive in Ukraine and the war’s effect on Europe and the world more broadly.

When lawmakers are back in session, they will face a slightly more urgent window to raise the debt ceiling after the Congressional Budget Office issued a revised estimate for how long the Treasury Department’s extraordinary actions can stave off a default. They predict the deadline to be anywhere between July and September, earlier than the Administration’s previous benchmark of August.

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

Federal officials visited East Palestine, Ohio this week following a train derailment and chemical spill. The small town of about 5,000 residents near the Pennsylvania border gained national attention after multiple carcinogens were released into the air and water. On Thursday, EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited the town to reassure residents that the air and municipal water quality had been tested and were found to be safe, although private wells would need to be tested individually. Regan also went on to say that his agency would be going after operator Norfolk Southern Railway stating the “EPA will exercise our oversight and our enforcement authority under the law to be sure we are getting the results that the community deserves.” Ohio lawmakers across the aisle are requesting additional federal resources and congressional action to address this issue.

The Supreme Court has cancelled oral arguments on a pandemic-related immigration case. This immigration rule, known as Title 42, is a holdover from the Trump Administration’s decision to limit asylum seekers from entering the country during the pandemic. Although the Supreme Court has not issued a statement about their decision to scrap oral arguments, it seems likely that the Biden Administration’s plan to end the Public Health Emergency in May influenced their decision. Without this restriction in place, the Administration will revert to alternative regulations, including a planned “transit ban” which will curtail the ability of migrants to apply for asylum unless they have first been denied from a safe harbor country and have entered through an authorized port of entry. Biden has been facing immense criticism of his handling of the southern border, and this pressure is likely to grow if ending Title 42 causes migration to spike. Republicans in the House have used their majority to hold multiple hearings on what they are calling the “Biden Border Crisis.”

The Senate Appropriations Committee has announced Subcommittee Chairs. Deadlines for Members’ requests to the Committee are expected to be announced shortly and will come as early as early March through mid-April, with Member-office deadlines even earlier.

Share This:

More Legislative News