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This Week in Congress

Congress continued to negotiate a $100 billion funding supplemental to aid Ukraine, Israel, and East Asian allies, along with new border funding.  Speaker Johnson told “senators that the baseline for House demands on immigration language is H.R. 2, the House-passed, hard-line border and immigration bill that quickly died in the Senate earlier this year.” Senate Republicans are not entirely with him, but they did appear “willing to tank a vote Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has planned on the package if they are not satisfied” with the immigration and border language.

The House voted on legislation to block an Environmental Protection Agency rule on vehicle emissions standards and an Education Department rule on student loan repayments.  Both chambers worked to reach a bicameral agreement on the annual defense authorization bill.   Among the sticking points are social issues such as service members’ ability to travel for abortions, and gender-affirming care for transgender troops.

Last week the House voted 310-115 to expel the former Rep. Santos (R-NY).  GOP leadership backed Santos, but that did not stop half the conference from voting to expel.  Of the 18 Republicans who represent districts President Biden carried, only Santos himself voted against expulsion. New York Governor Hochul must call a special election within 10 days of the expulsion, and the election must be held 70 to 80 days after the announcement.

President Biden announced a Council on Supply-Chain Resilience, charged with conducting a “quadrennial supply chain review, mirroring similar strategic documents prepared for national defense and homeland security,” with the first review due at the end of next year.

On Thursday, the EPA announced that it would require water systems nationwide to replace lead service lines within the next decade in efforts to protect drinking water. Relying on $15 billion from the infrastructure law passed last year, the move is aimed at eliminating 9.2 million lead lines currently in service.

Finally, a new federal Highway Administration rule requires any projects funded with federal money to set targets for declining emissions.  The rule requires state transportation departments and local metropolitan planning organizations to measure and report the amount of heat-trapping pollution that highway projects would create. Then those agencies have to set targets for reducing their emissions over periods of two or four years.  Sen. Capito (R-WV) said the rule runs contrary to the spirit of the law.