Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
March 16, 2023

The Senate convened at 10:00 A.M. and is considering the nomination of Jessica G. L. Clarke to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.  The Senate also took up a motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to S.316, to repeal the authorizations for use of military force against Iraq.  The bill, which would end the Iraq war authorizations has cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate and is expected to be taken up by the chamber for a final vote next week, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  The legislation, sponsored by Senators Tim Kaine, (D-Virginia) and Todd Young (R-Indiana), would end two congressional resolutions that authorized the use of military force, also known as an AUMF, in Iraq: one from the Gulf War in 1991 and another from 2002. It passed the chamber on a 68-27 vote.  Their repeal would close an open-ended justification that presidents have used to carry out military actions in Iraq, allowing Congress to reassert its authority when it comes to where and when to send troops into battle.

Of note today, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen defended the federal government’s crisis response to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank amid fierce questioning from congressional Republicans during a committee hearing.  Appearing at a hearing in front of the Senate Finance Committee, Yellen gave her most detailed explanation to date of why federal authorities moved to protect all uninsured deposits at SVB, while also seeking to assure lawmakers that the nation’s banking system is sound.  On Sunday, Yellen and other federal regulators promised to make whole all uninsured deposits at SVB through a fund that raises money from fees assessed on banks. The Biden administration has maintained that taxpayers will bear no cost for backstopping the deposits, but critics have pointed out that these fees are raised from levies on banks, which could lead to higher fees for customers everywhere.

When the Senate adjourns today, it will next be in session on Tuesday, March 21st.  The House will return on Wednesday, March 22nd.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.