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This week: Congress returns with lengthy to-do list

This week: Congress returns with lengthy to-do list
© The Hill

Lawmakers are returning from a weeks-long break with Democrats eager to make progress on a lengthy to-do list. 

The Senate will come into session on Monday after a two-week break, while the House is returning on Tuesday from a three-week break. 

The legislative session will take Democrats and the White House through President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE’s first 100 days. The House will be in D.C. for two weeks, followed by a committee work period, compared to three weeks for the Senate. 

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“We still have much to do to deliver on our promises to the American people, and the April legislative work period will see the House consider a number of key bills to achieve our goals,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerWhat's a party caucus chair worth? House fails to pass drug bill amid Jan. 6 tensions Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (D-Md.) wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter sent late last week. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.), in a letter sent late last month, has vowed that the Senate needs to “make progress” on “major issues facing the American people” with a focus on voting rights and civil rights, the economy and gun reforms. 

“We will try to work with our Republican colleagues on a bipartisan basis when and where we can. But if they choose to obstruct, rather than work with us to deliver for American families, we must make progress nonetheless. Failure is not an option,” Schumer wrote in the letter to Senate Democrats. 

Democrats and the White House are increasingly turning their focus to Biden’s “American Jobs Plan,” a sweeping proposal that includes roads and bridges but also includes broadband, the nation’s water supply and manufacturing.

Biden and Vice President Harris will meet with a group of lawmakers on Monday to discuss their proposal. Sens. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellThis week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning Will Biden's NASA win the space race with China? Bill Nelson is a born-again supporter of commercial space at NASA MORE (D-Wash.), Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerMcCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations MORE (R-Neb.), Alex PadillaAlex PadillaHispanic Caucus endorses essential worker immigration bill Padilla introduces bill to expand California public lands Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Calif.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerBiden says he and GOP both 'sincere about' seeking infrastructure compromise The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden expresses optimism on bipartisanship; Cheney ousted Hillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech MORE (R-Miss.) and Reps. Garret GravesGarret Neal GravesGOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices McCarthy unveils House GOP task forces, chairs House Republicans kick off climate forum ahead of White House summit MORE (R-La.), Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.), David PriceDavid Eugene PriceSecret Service: Optics of Trump greeting supporters outside Walter Reed wasn't a factor GOP ramps up attacks on Biden's border wall freeze The US has a significant flooding problem — Congress can help MORE (D-N.C.) and Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungFive takeaways on the House's return to budget earmarks Does Biden have an ocean policy? McCarthy and Biden haven't spoken since election MORE (R-Alaska) are expected to attend. 

Top Democrats have said that they want to get bipartisan support but have signaled that they are willing to go it alone under reconciliation, a budget process that allows them to bypass the legislative filibuster in the Senate. 

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Republicans have panned Biden’s proposal, predicting that it won’t pick up GOP votes. 

"I think that package that they're putting together now as much as we would like to address infrastructure is not going to get support from our side because I think ... the last thing the economy needs right now is a big whopping tax increase on all the productive sections of our economy," he said. 

Democrats could face headaches from their own ranks if they have to use reconciliation. 

Biden is proposing increasing the corporate tax rate to 28 percent to help cover the cost of his plan. 

But Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFormer OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Masks off: CDC greenlights return to normal for vaccinated Americans Jill Biden, Jennifer Garner go mask-free on vaccine-promoting West Virginia trip MORE (D-W.Va.) has poured cold water on that, saying he would vote for increasing the tax rate from 21 percent to 25 percent. Under reconciliation Biden will need the support of all 50 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, giving Manchin, or any other one member, significant sway. 

“As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” Manchin told Hoppy Kercheval, the host of West Virginia Metro News’s “Talkline” show. 

In addition to infrastructure, Hoyer said that the House will vote during the current work period on D.C. statehood, as well as legislation rejecting former President TrumpDonald TrumpSunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Navajo Nation president on Arizona's new voting restrictions: An 'assault' on our rights The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE’s travel ban. 

Lie in honor 

William "Billy" Evans, the police officer who died in the line of duty from the car attack at the Capitol on April 2, will lie in honor in the Rotunda on Tuesday. 

“The United States Congress joins all Americans in mourning the tragic death of one of our Capitol Police heroes, Officer Billy Evans,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiIncreasingly active younger voters liberalize US electorate Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans The Memo: Lawmakers on edge after Greene's spat with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-Calif.) and Schumer said in a joint statement. 

“In giving his life to protect our Capitol and our Country, Officer Evans became a martyr for our democracy. On behalf of the entire Congress, we are profoundly grateful,” they added. 

Evans was killed after the suspect in this month’s attack, Noah Green, rammed his car into him and another Capitol Police officer stationed at a security checkpoint along the fence lining the Senate side of the Capitol before crashing into a barricade.

He served in the Capitol Police force for 18 years and was the father of two children. There will be a tribute ceremony shortly after his remains arrive at the Capitol, followed by a viewing period for fellow members of the Capitol Police and members of Congress.

Evans will be the second Capitol Police officer to lie in honor this year. Congressional leaders gave the same tribute to Brian Sicknick, the Capitol Police officer who died after engaging with members of the violent mob of former President Trump's supporters during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Anti-discrimination bills

Schumer has teed up legislation for this week from Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoMore than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill Biden-McConnell cold war unlikely to end at White House If you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume MORE (D-Hawaii) to address an uptick in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans during the coronavirus. 

The bill requires the Justice Department to designate an individual responsible for overseeing the expedited review of coronavirus-related hate crimes. 

Biden urged Congress to pass the bill last month after eight people were killed in Georgia, including six Asian women. 

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“I urge Congress to swiftly pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would expedite the federal government’s response to the rise of hate crimes exacerbated during the pandemic, support state and local governments to improve hate crimes reporting, and ensure that hate crimes information is more accessible to Asian American communities,” he said. 

Hoyer predicted that the House would also be taking up additional legislation, after passing a resolution last year condemning crimes targeting Asian Americans.  

“It is clear that the House will have to take further action in the coming weeks, and bills introduced by Reps. Meng and Beyer are under review by the Judiciary Committee, which I anticipate will move forward expeditiously with their consideration,” he said. 

Workforce bills 

The House will vote this week on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which previously passed the chamber last year. 

The bill would bar employers from inquiring about prospective employees' salaries and ban retaliation against employees who compare wages. 

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The House will also vote on the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, which requires health care employers to develop workplace violence prevention plans.

“We owe it to our nation’s health care and social service workers, who have been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, to ensure that they can do their jobs with every safety precaution taken,” Hoyer said in his letter to House members.  

Nominations

Schumer has teed up votes on several nominations: Polly Ellen Trottenberg to be deputy secretary of Transportation, Wendy Sherman to be a deputy secretary of State, Gary GenslerGary GenslerFinancial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted Putting the SEC cops back on the Wall Street beat On The Money: US economy roars in first three months of 2021 | Jobless claims drop again | White House: No tax hikes for couples making less than 9K MORE to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission and Brenda MalloryBrenda MalloryThree questions about Biden's conservation goals OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water MORE to lead the Council on Environmental Quality.