This Week In Washington

Latest news from Washington, D.C. produced by Total Spectrum/SGA exclusively for members of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry

More Info: Michael DiMaria | Partner and Vice President of Business Development | 602-717-3891 | [email protected]

Many thanks for your interest in Washington, D.C., and for reading This Week in Washington.

Winter is waning, and we’re approaching cherry blossom time. Congress will pretty much be focused on the midterm elections after July 31st, so Administration and Congressional leaders are feverishly putting together a list of legislative things that must get done – and can get done – in the next few months.

Patrick Robertson’s Washington Whispers is an important guide to possible legislative activity. Ramona Lessen reviewed two hearings – Monday’s Senate Judiciary Hearing on the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and Tuesday’s Senate Banking Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing entitled “Building a Resilient Economy by Shoring up Supply”.

A great number of industries were hurt during the pandemic, but the restaurant industry is at or near the top of the list. Congressman Erik Paulsen interviewed Dwayne Allen for Total Spectrum Spotlight. Mr. Allen is the Co-Founder and owner of the Breadfruit and Rum Bar in Phoenix, and he is a member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. He describes the rewards and the challenges he and many other local restaurants are facing. It’s a great interview and I hope you’ll watch it.

We started Total Spectrum Spotlight last fall at the request of the Arizona Chamber, and the response has been excellent. Congressman Paulsen has lined up some excellent interviews to share with you over the next couple of months, so stay tuned.

Thanks again for reading This Week in Washington and watching Total Spectrum Spotlight. We’ll be back in two weeks for the next issue of This Week

Steve Gordon

Total Spectrum Managing Director

Total Spectrum Spotlight

In this week’s Total Spectrum SpotlightCongressman Erik Paulsen talks with Dwayne Allen, Co-Founder and Owner of The Breadfruit and Rum Bar and member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition. Listen to Dwayne share his personal experience as a restauranteur during the pandemic and the heavy toll it has placed on those in the hospitality and independent restaurant industry.

Washington Whispers

By Patrick Robertson, Total Spectrum Managing Partner

Last week, Congress passed its last must-pass piece of legislation until the fall – the Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bill, known in Washington, D.C. simply as the omnibus. This $1.5 trillion bill funds the government until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, and if history is any guide, that will begin the process of a series of continuing resolutions until Congress passes another omnibus when the snow flies and the election is long settled.

As we enter the opening phase of the 2022 midterm Congressional elections, the prevailing question in Washington is what else Congress might do. To set the table, all 435 House seats are up for election in November, most of them in updated congressional districts after the states drew new district lines following the results of the once-a-decade census. At the same time, a third of the Senate will be up for grabs.

As you may know, most seats are expected to remain in the hands of the incumbent, but with 47 House members (31 Democrats and 16 Republicans) and six Senators (five Republicans and one Democrat) not seeking reelection, there are plenty of changes to come. While many of those seats may not change control just by virtue of not having an incumbent, with a 50-50 Senate and a five-vote margin in the House, very few seats need to switch sides to change control of Washington.

This election is called a midterm because President Biden is not on the ballot; it is the middle of his term. Historically, a new president’s party performs poorly in midterm elections. This would seem to bode poorly for Democrats, especially with the President’s improving yet still poor polling numbers. However, the swings in political power are getting shorter and shorter in American politics and there are still eight months until the first Tuesday in November.

So, what will Congress do between now and the November election? The first midterm primary is already behind us.  Texas held its primary on March 1 and a runoff is slated for May 24 for those races where no one candidate gained more than 50% of the vote.

This week the Senate is focused on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court. The hearings will end this week, members will submit written questions, and if all goes according to plan, the Senate will confirm Judge Brown before its mid-April recess. This will consume most of the Senate’s time while it also continues to confirm nominations for posts in the Administration and other judicial positions. Meanwhile, the House is looking for ways to pass COVID relief that was dropped at the last minute from the omnibus. The Biden Administration reported this week that it does not have the money to buy a fourth round of vaccinations for a potential second booster if approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

At the end of March, the Administration is expected to release its delayed Fiscal Year 2023 budget. This will kick off the budget process on the Hill and open the debate on next year’s appropriations bills. Generally, it is expected the subcommittee work on these bills may begin in April and May.

Later this spring the House and the Senate are slated to hold a formal conference on the China Competes/CHIPS bill that would change the way the U.S. competes in the microprocessor and semiconductor world. Both bodies have passed their own version of the bill and now need to work out their differences. In the Schoolhouse Rock version of Washington, most bills go to conference, but when I asked a Senator who has been in his seat for 10 years about a conference committee last week, he told me he has never been on one. Conferences have become a rarity in Washington, and it remains to be seen if this 117th Congress will have a real conference committee that results in something being signed into law.

From there, the multi trillion-dollar question is whether Democrats can get back to work on a reconciliation package. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he was willing to make tax changes and tackle energy policy, so long as it made the U.S. energy independent and gave it a reliable energy supply, while he wants to leave social programs out. It is unclear if liberal Senators and Members of Congress will be willing to do something that narrow. The height of summer in June or July seems to be the most likely time for this work if it is going to happen.

From there, Congress usually leaves for much of August, September, and October to prepare for the November election. However, they will need to return for some of the fall to fund the government.

The one caveat to this timeline is the Ukrainian situation. I would not have anticipated sending $15 billion in aid to Ukraine as the U.S. did last week due to a European war that was not on most of Washington’s proverbial radar at the end of last year. Case in point that world events and politics can scramble timelines in an instant.

There remain persistent rumors of a tax extenders/larger tax package either before the election or in a lame duck Congress. None of those are confirmed but they come up most days, so keep an eye out for a potential tax vehicle later in the year.

Finally, the Administration is close to concluding that its only domestic accomplishments may well be the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Administration and Congressional leadership are refocusing a lot of their messaging around touting these wins. Democrats and Republicans alike are already taking credit for the infrastructure spending and cabinet officials are crisscrossing the country talking about it.  

Hearing Report

By Ramona Lessen, Executive Director, Total Spectrum

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States

Monday, March 21, 2022; 11:00 a.m. 

To view a livestream of the hearing please click here.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman

Majority Statement

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member

Minority Statement


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson

Opening Statement

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing on Building a Resilient Economy: Shoring Up Supply

Tuesday, March 22, 2022; 10:15 AM

To view a livestream of the hearing please click here.

Sherrod Brown (D – OH), Chairman

Majority Statement

Patrick J. Toomey (R – PA), Ranking Member

Minority Statement


The Honorable William E. Spriggs

Professor Of Economics and Chief Economist

Howard University and AFL-CIO


Dr. Betsey Stevenson

Professor Of Public Policy and Economics

University of Michigan


Dr. Erica R.H. Fuchs

Professor Of Engineering and Public Policy

Carnegie Mellon University


Dr. Veronique de RugyGeorge Gibbs Chair In Political Economy at the Mercatus Center

George Mason University


Dr. Phil Levy

Chief Economist



Congressional Calendar

Monday, March 21

  • 10 a.m. House Transportation Coast Guard Subcommittee field hearing to explore small passenger vessel safety in light of recent maritime casualties. City Hall, Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • 11 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to be a Supreme Court Associate Justice.

Tuesday, March 22

  • 9 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committeehearing on Jackson’s nomination.
  • 9:30 a.m. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on four defense-related nominations.
  • 10 a.m. Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on challenges to the rural care economy.
  • 10 a.m. Senate HELP Committee hearing on cutting childcare and preschool costs for working families.
  • 10 a.m. Senate Commerce Committee markup of 13 bills, including the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, which would boost exporter’s access to cargo containers.
  • 10:15 a.m. Senate Banking Committee hearing – Shoring up Supply to Build a Resilient Economy.
  • 2:15 p.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee closed briefing: Update on the Iran Nuclear Negotiations.

Wednesday, March 23

  • 9 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jackson’s nomination.
  • 10 a.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting on 19 bills, including one that would require reports on the adoption of a cryptocurrency as legal tender in El Salvador, as well as five nominations and a treaty with Chile.
  • 10 a.m. Senate Aging Committee hearing on home-based services.
  • 10 a.m. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on American competitiveness and semiconductor provisions in the China competitiveness bill.
  • 10 a.m. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on promoting energy security through climate investments.
  • 10 a.m. Senate HELP Committee hearing on federal mental health and substance abuse disorder programs.
  • 2:30 p.m. Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on six measures, including one that would overhaul tribes’ collection and availability of health data.
  • 2:30 p.m. Senate Armed Services Emerging Threats Subcommittee hearing on security cooperation in the Western Hemisphere.
  •  3 p.m. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on improving the VA’s assistance program for family caregivers.

Thursday, March 24

  • 9 a.m. Senate Judiciary Committeehearing on Jackson’s nomination.
  • 9:30 a.m. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on U.S. Northern Command and Southern Command.
  • 10:00 a.m. Senate Banking Committee hearing on Strengthening Oversight and Equity in the Appraisal Process. 
  • 11:00 a.m. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Closed Briefing: Update on U.S.-Taiwan Policy

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