DWPA logo

Legislative Affairs

December 23, 2022

Senate Passes Omnibus

House has until December 30th to Confirm

Key Dates
December 23, 2022 – Continuing Resolution Expires: Today
December 30, 2022 – Stopgap Funding Expires: 7 days
January 3, 2023 – Swearing-in of 118th Congress: 11 days

Lawmakers worked past midnight on Wednesday to finalize details of the Omnibus. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) organized a vote early Thursday morning and passed the legislation along with a short stopgap funding package to extend government spending through December 30th. While the House still needs to vote, this was positive movement to keep the government open.

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

A last-minute amendment threatened to derail the Omnibus. On Wednesday afternoon, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) offered an amendment to the Omnibus to prevent the Biden Administration from allowing a pandemic era border policy, known as Title 42, to lapse. In broad strokes, Title 42 is significantly limiting crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, ostensibly to prevent the spread of disease, but a federal judge has ruled it capricious. This has allowed the Biden Administration to proceed with their original plan of axing the order which could in turn cause a spike in migration over the holidays. On Monday, the Supreme Court weighed in on the issue, granting a temporary stay which the Biden Administration asked to extend at least through Christmas.

The Lee amendment was voted down and Schumer successfully ushered through the $1.65 trillion deal. However, a stopgap funding measure was necessary to avoid a partial government shutdown; this buys House members until December 30 to pass the Omnibus. Most members of Congress have already left D.C. ahead of the impending winter storms which could paralyze travel across the country this holiday weekend.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and made an historic plea to Congress. This high-profile visit was a mystery to most until Tuesday afternoon when news broke that, barring security concerns, the war weary president would make the trip from Kyiv to Washington to meet with Biden and speak before Congress on Wednesday. After more than 2 minutes of standing ovation from Members of Congress, Zelenskyy gave a 35-minute speech requesting additional military support to fend off the Russian invasion.

This push for additional assistance is of course highly relevant to the Omnibus which includes $45 billion in military and economic aid for Ukraine. Who was the target audience for this speech? Arguably, it was the incoming Republican House majority which has soured on blank checks to Ukraine in recent months. By some counts, less than half of House Republicans were in attendance for Zelenskyy’s address.

What else is in the Omnibus legislation, and what didn’t make the cut? Several big measures are being included as riders to this last piece of legislation to be passed by the 117th Congress. One such bill concerns new retirement provisions which are designed to expand savings incentives among poorer Americans. The legislation would also encourage enrollment in retirement plans and raise the starting age for required minimum distributions from tax-deferred accounts from 72 to 75. In all, this would significantly alter the way your 401(k) operates.

A bill which did not make the final legislation, despite a softening on marijuana offenses in recent years, was a provision to protect banks who do business with the cannabis industry in states where it is legal to do so. As it stands, these banks still run the risk of losing federal banking charters because marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug according to the Feds.

The January 6th Committee releases its final report. An executive summary of the report had already been made available and transcripts were being combed through for juicy tidbits. But the long and short of the committee’s findings are best expressed in their referral of former President Trump to the DOJ on 4 criminal charges. With the House set to flip from blue to red on January 3rd, this will be the last action taken in the public forum, unless Senate Democrats are willing to keep the pressure on into the next election cycle.

As a reminder, the 118th Congress begins on January 3rd. The Hill will be buzzing with swearing-in ceremonies and open houses for members old and new. If you plan to visit and make the rounds, your WSW team will be on the Hill and our offices open and available to clients so we can anticipate your needs.

Share This:

More Legislative News