The House and Senate will be in session on the same day for the first time in 2022 when the House reconvenes at 6:30 P.M. today, after the Senate was in session for a brief part of last week.
The Senate will spend the majority of this week working on voting rights legislation in advance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday which falls on Monday, January 17th. In a letter to the Democratic Caucus last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) promised that if Republicans filibuster a voting rights bill supported by the entire Senate Democratic caucus, as they are expected to, he’ll schedule a vote on changes to the rules by January 17th. This move is notable, signaling that he’s willing to put Senators on record regarding their positions about the filibuster, and that he’s ready to move forward on reforms himself. Republicans have used the 60-vote legislative filibuster to block two sweeping election bills and a third voting bill named after the late Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia) that would expand the 1965 Voting Rights Act after a key section was gutted by a 2013 Supreme Court decision. There is not consensus within the 50-vote Democratic caucus on changing the filibuster and Democrats haven’t unveiled a proposal for how they plan to change Senate rules, despite Leader Schumer’s promises to take the issue to the floor. There are proposals under discussion ranging from a carveout from filibuster rules to a return to the talking filibuster or a shift from requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster to requiring 41 “no” votes to sustain it. At the moment, Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) remains a key Democratic holdout on filibuster changes, but Democratic colleagues are aiming to find a proposal that could garner his support.
The Senate will also vote this week on legislation from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to place sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transport gas from Russia to Germany. Democrats agreed to hold a vote on Cruz’s bill as part of a deal struck last year, where Democrats gave Cruz a vote and the Texas Republican dropped his hold on several of President Joe Biden’s nominees, allowing them to be confirmed before the Senate wrapped up its work for 2021. Cruz will need at least 10 Democratic senators in order to get his bill passed through the Senate. The vote comes amid ratcheted up tension with Russia as Moscow amasses troops along its border with Ukraine. The Biden administration is taking part in diplomatic summits this week to try to tamp down tensions.
The Senate will also continue to work through more of President Joe Biden’s stalled nominations this week, including Amitabha Bose’s nomination to be administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration as well as Holly Thomas’s and Gabriel Sanchez’s nominations to be circuit judges for the 9th Circuit.
For today, the Senate will convene at 3:00 P.M. and following Leader remarks will resume consideration of the nomination of Alan Davidson to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information.
The House will meet at 6:30 P.M. for a Quorum Call, Establishing a quorum in the House of Representatives for the Second Session of the 117th Congress.