Jul 9, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Schumer plans busy July as Senate returns from recess

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday signaled plans to move forward on more than a dozen pieces of legislation this month ranging from government funding to cannabis banking to artificial intelligence.

Why it matters: The Senate's apparent lethargy over the last 7 months has been a source of criticism from House Republicans as they've passed a raft of messaging bills doomed to die in the upper chamber.

Driving the news: In a Sunday letter to colleagues laying out the Senate's plans for the next three weeks, Schumer said they will go far beyond must-pass legislation funding the government and reauthorizing the military.

What we're watching: Whether any of these bills pass will depend not only on bipartisan support – any bill supported by all Senate Democrats also needs nine Republicans to overcome the legislative filibuster – but approval from House Republicans to put it on the floor.

  • "It is always my hope that we will be able to find consensus and develop a path forward with our Republican colleagues," Schumer wrote. But, he added, "where that is not possible, we must purse all options available for advancing programs to protect and expand America’s middle class."

And then there's the judges. That has been the primary function of the Senate since Republicans took control of the House, and one of the few things Democrats can do unilaterally.

  • Schumer said Democrats will "continue working to confirm President Biden’s diverse and experienced nominees and to rebalance the federal bench with judges who respect the rule of law."
  • He also teased legislation to institute a code of ethics for the Supreme Court, which Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said will be marked up by his panel this week.
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