What to Expect When Congress Returns from Recess

NRB | August 24, 2023 | Advocacy

As Labor Day draws near, the U.S. Congress is preparing to return from August recess. With a full slate of legislative priorities and key deadlines approaching, the fall of 2023 is shaping up to be a busy time on Capitol Hill. Here are a few items to watch when Congress returns on September 5 (Senate) and September 12 (House).

Pending Confirmation of Anna Gomez to the FCC

Before August recess, Anna Gomez reported favorably out of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, meaning her nomination is headed to the Senate floor for a full vote. Gomez was nominated by President Joe Biden in late May following the withdrawal of controversial nominee Gigi Sohn. The Senate invoked cloture on debate over the nomination unanimously, a likely signal that she will be approved. While the date has not yet been determined, expect to see a vote on the schedule soon after Congress returns. If confirmed, Gomez will occupy the Commission’s fifth seat and third Democrat slot, ending the 2-2 deadlock in the FCC.

Fight Continues to Keep AM Radio in the Dash

The AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act sailed through markup in the July 27 executive session of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, an important early step toward securing the future of AM radio in the auto dashboard. Given the bill’s swift movement through markup and its broad, bipartisan support, it is possible that S.1669 will come to a vote soon after recess concludes. NRB’s advocacy team continues to monitor and build support for this legislation.

Battle Looming Over MVPD Rules 

Expect tension as the FCC, Congress, or both consider the classification of digital streaming formats and the underlying laws and statutory language to determine whether rules that govern traditional over-the-air (OTA) television transmission formats should be applied to over-the-top (OTT) digital streaming services. With Senate Commerce leadership urging the FCC to update the record on changes in the video marketplace, and House counterparts arguing that this issue should lay solely in Congress’ hands, this will be an issue for TV broadcasters to watch. As an association whose Christian television members are impacted by these rules, NRB is monitoring this issue closely and working to protect independent, nonprofit, and noncommercial programming in the television marketplace.

Looming Government Shutdown

Congress will be zeroed in on government funding as a September 30 shutdown deadline edges closer. With just twelve legislative days to resolve these issues, the funding fight will take center stage as lawmakers spar over domestic spending, agency support, foreign aid, and more—with the clock ticking. Several representatives are rallying behind the cry “no border security, no funding,” while select Republican members are fighting to defund the Justice Department and prohibit funding for the office of special counsel Jack Smith.

Fighting Weaponization of Federal Government

House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan and the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Government Weaponization continue to dig deeper into the collusion between the federal government and technology companies to limit free speech. Congress may be in recess, but that has not stopped Republicans on the subcommittee from working to hold the government accountable. In early August, they filed an amicus brief in Missouri v. Biden accusing the Biden administration of exercising coercive behavior on tech companies. From the Facebook and Twitter revelations of recent months, to the influence of “disinformation” tracking groups, expect to learn much more in the coming months about coordination between the executive branch and private companies to limit speech.

As a busy fall unfolds, NRB’s advocacy team continues to champion your interests and address your concerns on the Hill and in federal agencies. NRB’s Office of Public Policy & Communications can be reached at policy@nrb.org.

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