United States Congress In Session

October 2023 | Key Priorities & Updates

Congressional Priorities

Speaker of the House Elections

At the time of writing, the House of Representatives remains at a standstill following the historic removal of Kevin McCarthy from the office of Speaker of the House. Per House rules, no action can occur until a new Speaker is selected. Last Wednesday, the Republican Conference selected Steve Scalise of Louisiana as the party’s nominee for Speaker. Late last week, Congressman Scalise removed his name from consideration when it became clear he would not have the votes needed on the floor to become the next Speaker. The conference then selected Jim Jordan of Ohio to be their new Speaker designee. The process, however, is far from over.

The Republican’s narrow majority dictates that only 4 conference members can deviate for a Speaker to be elected on the floor. At the time of publication, nearly a dozen Republican members have confirmed their intention to vote against Jordan on the floor, per The Washington Post. The House has scheduled a floor vote for Speaker on October 17th, but Jordan still has more votes to flip. Even with the pending vote, we may see a recap of the chaotic 15 ballot Speaker votes in January as Jordan’s path to 218 remains unclear.

Senate & House FY 2024 Appropriations

Representative Matt Gaetz, the leader of the Motion to Vacate against former Speaker McCarthy, raised the lack of single-subject appropriation bills as a key reason that McCarthy had to go. The lack of consideration of these bills forced the House and Senate to adopt an 11th-hour Continuing Resolution (CR) just hours before the federal government ran out of money to avoid a shutdown. The CR keeps the government open until mid-November, when another funding deadline looms.

The House has already passed 5 major appropriations bills off the floor, with several others slated to hit the floor following the election of a new Speaker. The Senate, however, has not taken up a single appropriations measure. Leader Schumer has not indicated a timeline to consider any of the House-passed measures, meaning Congress is on the fast track for another CR or omnibus spending bill when government funding runs out on November 17.

Aid to Israel

On October 7th, Israel was attacked by terrorists from Hamas, leading to continued conflicts across the Jewish state. The deadlock in the House presents many challenges to the Congressional response to this growing conflict. Politico has reported that a variety of aid packages have been discussed between Congressional leadership and the White House, but nothing will be able to pass the lower chamber until a Speaker is chosen. The White House has taken matters into its own hands, using its authority to supply military aid to Israel. This authority, however, can only go so far. A true aid package will require Congressional approval.

Any American military response in Israel will also be complicated by several unfilled senior military positions, caused by Senator Tommy Tuberville’s continued hold of DOD promotions and nominations due to the Department’s post-Rose abortion policies. The Hill reported last week that the Senator is showing no signs of lifting his hold in the face of these conflicts, a hold that has now left hundreds of senior military roles empty. Members on both sides of the aisle are beginning to show frustration with these holds, a frustration that will certainly increase should robust US military involvement be needed.

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 

Through her role as the vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, much of her time in the Senate now revolves around Committee work and securing appropriations wins for Mainers. Along with her work on general appropriations bills required to fund the FY2024 budget, she also continually secures funding wins for the State of Maine. Recent secured funding highlights can be found here.

Our team expects the Senator to be busy over the coming weeks as the House puts pressure on the Senate to take up appropriations bills ahead of the November 17 government funding deadlines. Her office could also hold immense power over any CRs or omnibus bills needed to keep the government open. There is still time to activate the Senator around key appropriations issues that your clients want to push for 2024.

Senator Angus King 

A long-time supporter of rural Maine communities, the Senator recently introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen rural Maine economies by improving forest health.


Congresswoman Annie Kuster 

The Congresswoman led an effort by the New Hampshire delegation to secure millions in funding to support school safety and community policing in Manchester and Laconia.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen 

With the support of the New Hampshire delegation, the Senator recently celebrated $7 million in infrastructure bill funding to be used to strengthen the state’s power grid and bring more reliable power to rural communities.

Senator Bernie Sanders

As Chair of the Senate HELP Committee, the Senator recently led a hearing on several bills addressing the changes needed to the primary care system in the United States.

Congressman Richard Neal

Congressman Neal recently joined other statewide officials in Massachusetts to celebrate $108 million in new transportation funding. The funds will be used to finance a new east-west rail infrastructure project across the state.

Senator Ed Markey 

AI legislation has been a primary focus of the Senator over the last few years. Last week, the Senator joined a group of his Democratic colleagues calling on President Biden to include the so-called “AI Bill of Rights” into an upcoming Executive Order.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
The Rhode Island delegation, led by the Senator, announced over $3 million in funding last week to assist local and state law enforcement and enhance public safety.

Maine Legislature

The list of bill requests that were submitted by cloture for the Second Regular Session of the 131st Legislature have been released. They can be found here. Legislative Council is scheduled to vote on submission requests on October 26th.

In addition, many high stakes issues that may impact your business and/or your clients were carried over from the First Regular Session. Check out the list of carry over bills