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This Week in Congress

Congress voted on legislation regarding China and the threat it poses to the United States’ security and economy.  Three congressional hearings on the subject were scheduled for this week.  The House voted on legislation that would overturn a Washington, D.C. law that allows non-citizen residents to vote in local elections as well as a separate measure that overhauled the city’s criminal code. Also, the House voted on a bill that would end the Covid-19 vaccination requirement for foreign travelers and legislation that would direct the Energy Department to provide financial assistance to students taking courses related to energy infrastructure cybersecurity.  The House is scheduled to take a two-week break from votes after this week, with a return planned February 27th.

Sen. Collins (R-ME), is now the Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member, and she laid out her funding priorities for the committee, which will aim to move the panel's dozen appropriations bills to the Senate floor in regular order, instead of relying on a year-end omnibus package. She wrote that modernizing the military and investing in biomedical research, transportation infrastructure and rural America are her priorities in her new role.

On Tuesday, President Biden delivered his State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress.  The President highlighted the accomplishments of his first two years in office including his climate, taxation, and health laws as well as his bipartisan infrastructure package.  In addition to speaking on averting a federal default and strengthening America’s security posture against China, Biden addressed the following issues:

  • Economy: The president acknowledged the “economic anxiety” many Americans are facing while explaining how his policies will improve their situations.
  • Tax on Wealthy: President Biden called for a minimum tax on billionaires and quadrupling levies on stock buybacks, items that stand little chance of passing through a divided Congress.
  • Ukraine: President Biden invited Ambassador of Ukraine Oksana Markarova to once again attend, underscoring his intention to press Congress to sustain the flow of aid and arms to her country as Russia’s invasion nears its one-year mark.
  • Social Issues: President Biden highlighted legislative priorities including abortion rights, an assault weapons ban, and cancer research.