Both Senate and House Are Back in Session
The Senate is preparing for a vote on abortion. Last week Politico published a leaked initial draft majority opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States suggesting the Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark abortion ruling. If adopted, the draft would rule in favor of Mississippi in a case the Court heard in December 2021, leaving the decision on how to govern abortions up to individual states. The document has generated significant attention, and Senate Majority Leader Schumer is expected to file cloture today on a bill that would enshrine a statutory right to abortion nationwide. Democrats do not have the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster, however. The House already passed its own abortion rights legislation, the Women’s Health Protection Act, late last year. This issue will continue to play a role in the legislative agenda and the upcoming midterm elections.
This week will see movement on user fee agreements and mental health. The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee will hold a mark-up of a bipartisan legislative package addressing the user fee agreements and a bipartisan bill that would reauthorize several mental health programs. The bipartisan user fee agreement package was released late last week and may be the only health care package that crosses the finish line before the midterm election. With Senate Finance and HELP Committees also working on bipartisan mental health bills, the outlook for action in this arena is still to be determined. We will also be watching the mark-up to see how the abortion debate may come into play.
The future of $10 billion in COVID-19 relief remains uncertain. Democrats want to combine $33 billion in relief to Ukraine and $10 billion in COVID-19 funding to streamline the passage of both packages. However, it is unclear how the COVID-19 funding will move forward, whether together with or separate from Ukraine funding.
The House and Senate continue their work on the user fee acts and COVID-19 relief, as the nation anticipates the pending Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. Debbie Curtis and Rodney Whitlock outline how this decision will be telling for other legislative opportunities.