What Are They Doing To Us Today, July 20?
The marquee items today are the normal, consequential things Congress that need to get done -- reauthorizing the FAA in the House, and passing the defense policy bill in the Senate. But then there is also the House's subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which is bringing in Robert Kennedy Jr., who happens to agree with GOP anti-vaxxers, could hurt President Biden in 2024, and was recently caught on tape suggesting Covid may have been engineered to spare Jews and Chinese people.
On The Floor
The House is in at 9 to finish the FAA bill. Votes are expected to be done before 11, so members can get out of town (most flying from DCA just across the Potomac, but some -- who lost their bid to add flights there in Wednesday's votes -- headed out to the hated Dulles). This bill hasn't gotten a whole lot of attention amid the circus-like stories, but this bill spends more than $100 billion. Perhaps the key item for the public is that it attempts to modernize airports and do something about all those delays while also preserving safety. The Dems has a nice amendment tracker. Really, whatever passes the House will have to be reconciled with the Senate's currently stalled version. That one could have more robust safety measures, and elements of a proposal to crack down on things like bag fees and airlines' failure to compensate delayed passengers in a manner similar to what happens in Europe. For instance, Ed Markey and other senators want to make airlines pay passengers $1,350 if they are denied a seat on an overbooked flight.
As a reminder, the FAA reauthorization needs to get done be Sept. 30, when the current one expires. And Congress takes August off.
The Senate is in at 10, likely to approve David Uhlmann as Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Then it's back to the NDAA. There is still a lot of backroom talk on amendments, and I am looking to see if some 9/11 health funding money gets added, but there are a lot of moving parts, and even worthy things like that can fall by the wayside. One vote that we will probably see is on an amendment that would end the military's new policy of supporting women seeking abortion care when they can't get services where they are stationed. This is in hopes of getting Sen. Tommy Tuberville to release his block on hundreds of military promotions, which he started in protest of the abortion policy, and which the military says is harming readiness -- and the families of all those officers whose lives are in limbo. One amendment on the schedule today is a Ted Cruz-Joe Manchin joint to bar the sale of oil from the strategic reserve to any entities linked to China. Normally, such sales go to the highest bidder, so if a Chinese outfit was the highest bidder, the country would get less money for the oil.
At The Mics
9 - Rep. Tim Burchett and other Oversight members on the upcoming Oversight Committee hearing on UAPs. (We used to call those UFOs). House Studio A.
9:15 - Rep. Cárdenas, Kamlager-Dove, Westerman join justice advocates to announce juvenile protection legislation. House Triangle.
10:45 - Democratic Leader Jeffries does his weekly press conference. House Studio A.
11 - Sen. Kaine on the Equal Rights Amendment. (Virginia was the last state to ratify the amendment, just a couple years ago, and Dems are ramping up the push to finally get it passed.) Senate Swamp.
11:30 - Reps. Boyle and Norcross announce the Tax Fairness for Workers Act. House Triangle.
Noon - Sen. Cornyn on the southern border. Senate Studio.
12:30 - Rep. Morelle and lots of other Dems speak in support of Freedom to Vote Act they just unveiled. House Triangle.
1:30 - Sen. Blumenthal on VA hospitals. Senate Swamp.
In The Hearing Rooms
9 - The Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government looks at what it calls the federal government's role in censoring Americans, collusion by Big Tech and the Missouri v. Biden case. This is the one with RFK jr., and here is a Dem-linked group's assessment of him. 2141 Rayburn. Livestream here.
9 - Natural Resources' Subcommittee on Federal Lands marks up H.R. 1786, H.R. 1829, H.R. 2468 and H.R. __ "Military and Veterans in Parks Act." 1324 Longworth. Stream here.
9:30 - Veterans Affairs' Joint Subcommittees on Technology Modernization, and Subcommittee Oversight and Investigations take a very worthy look at “VA Contracting: Challenges in Competition and Conflicts of Interest.” 360 Cannon. Watch here.
8 - The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party considers “The Biden Administration's PRC Strategy.” This has Defense, State and Commerce officials, and likely will be less bipartisan than some of this committee's work. 390 Cannon. Watch here.
9:30 - The Senate Judiciary Committee takes up the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act of 2023, in an attempt to do something about the fact that the high court does not have to abide by the rules all other federal judges have to follow, and to answer all these stories about justices jetting around the country and globe on the dime of billionaires. Watch here.
10 - Senate Banking is wondering if maybe we should do something about FDIC insurance after the recent bank failures in which the federal government agreed to make whole even wealthy depositors well beyond the $250,000 that the FDIC guarantees. Watch it here.
10 - Senate Finance (which oversees things like Medicare and Medicaid) has "The Cost of Inaction and the Urgent Need to Reform the U.S. Transplant System." This really is a serious problem, and improving matters would be something good that Congress could do to us. This one features doctors and a patient, LaQuayia Goldring, who survives on dialysis while waiting for a kidney transplant, going on 9 years. Stream here.
10:30 - The Senate Appropriations Committee is going to plow through three major bills: the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2024; the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2024, and the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2024. That's a LOT of spending for one hearing. Watch here.
Note: This is still an evolving thing, and could certainly be more in depth. I folks are genuinely interested, I will try to be more expansive.