November Newsletter

Government Funding Deadline

The deadline to fund the federal government comes in just days, on November 17th. After losing three weeks of legislative time to elect a new Speaker, the House has crafted another Continuing Resolution to keep the government open. Speaker Johnson, in his first major test since taking office, passed a “two-tier” CR that funds some portions of the government through January and others through February during an evening vote on Tuesday.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Democrats have promised to bring a vote on the measure quickly. The White House has changed its tune on the measure, ensuring Democrat allies on the Hill that the President will sign the measure if passed. Congress has also struggled to make progress on any single-subject appropriations bills under Speaker Johnson, with only seven of the 12 appropriations bills passed out of the House and zero passed out of the Senate. Though it was a bipartisan CR that cost Kevin McCarthy his speakership, there is no indication that Johnson will meet the same fate.

Foreign Policy

As was evident during the first hour of last week’s GOP presidential debate, foreign policy continues to be a hot topic in the final months of 2023. US officials are contending with two major conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, and policy challenges exist on both fronts. In a reversal of his stance during the Speaker elections, Speaker Johnson has been open to considering aid to Ukraine as long as it is tied to funding for US border security. This policy will be unpopular with Democrats and the Speaker’s right flank.
Israel aid is also an uphill battle on the Hill. The House passed a sizable Israel aid package last week, paid for by major cuts to the IRS. House Democrats were opposed to the measure, and it is expected to have a difficult path through the Senate. The pending government shutdown also poses a problem as a lack of government funding would put all conversation regarding foreign aid on hold.

Senate Military Nominations

There is finally some movement in the Senate on key military promotions in defiance of the holds placed on nomination by Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. Since February, Senator Tuberville has prevented voice votes on over 400 military promotions in response to the Pentagon’s policy of providing leave for service members who cross state lines to get an abortion. Last week, three key senior military officials were confirmed by the Senate. Senator Tuberville continues to place blame on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for not bringing more votes to the floor, as the Leader has only brought four total promotion votes to the floor since September.

Senator Tuberville is beginning to lose the support of his Republican colleagues regarding his continued hold on promotions. Last week, a Senate Republican conference meeting divulged into chaos as fellow Republican Senators voiced their strong opposition to Tuberville’s tactics. The Senator from Alabama, for his part, has vowed to continue his holds until the Pentagon reverses their policy.

New England Delegation Activities

Our New England Members have been hard at work this month on a variety of priorities helping constituents from Maine to Connecticut. Here are some of the important highlights that could impact your business and ongoing projects.

Senator Susan Collins

The Maine tourism economy relies on a steady stream of seasonal labor, and the Senator recently supported a measure to ensure this labor market remains strong. Along with Senator King, she recently announced that over 64,000 additional H-2B visas will be available in Maine during 2024.

Congressman Jared Golden

Following the tragic events in Lewiston, Maine Congressman Golden made comments to the media reversing his long-held views on a federal assault weapons ban. The Congressman had long broken from his party in not supporting legislative action to limit access to these weapons, but the events in his hometown caused him to change course and call on his colleagues to take action in banning weapons like the one used in the Lewiston attacks.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, the Congresswoman was proud to announce over $13 million in federal grants to protect Maine’s natural resources.

Congressman Chris Papas

The Senator continues her long standing support for education by introducing a bipartisan bill to bolster K-12 STEM education. The bill provides resources to schools across the country, ensuring students are prepared for high-paying jobs in adulthood.

Senator Maggie Hassan

Democrats inside the Beltway continue to look for ways to provide student loan debt relief to borrowers, and the Senator is pursuing another measure to achieve this relief. She recently sponsored a bill to reauthorize and double the Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program.

Senator Bernie Sanders

With the growing focus on international aid to a number of conflict areas, the Senator joined a bipartisan push to ensure domestic emergency programs receive equal amounts of funding.

Congressman Jack Auchincloss

Concerned about the ongoing effects of Senator Tuberville’s blockade of military promotions, the Congressman led a letter signed by his Democratic colleagues on the China Select Committee urging Senator Minority Leader McConnell to end the Senator’s blockade.

Senator Elizabeth Warren

At a recent hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, the Senator called for an end to the Trump-Era tax cuts for giant corporations across the country.

Senator Jack Reed

In an effort to preserve the long and proud heritage of New England’s working waterfronts, Senator Reed joined Senator Collins to introduce a bipartisan bill to create a grant program to be used for updates to existing waterfront facilities.

Maine Legislature

Maine’s Legislature is ramping up for the Second Regular Session. If you have goals to achieve in Maine this coming year, please reach out to our team.

Last week, Legislative Council voted on which legislative bill requests would be heard in January. Check out the voting results here. Appeals will be heard this Thursday, November 16th.

Check out the list of carry over bills here.