Congressional Update

Last week the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) endorsed the Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA), with Teamsters President Sean O’Brien noting that passage of CCCA would “ease inflationary pressures on working people and establish greater accountability in the financial market.” This is a very significant endorsement that can be instrumental in pressuring Senate Democratic Leadership (read: Sen. Chuck Schumer) to bring the bill to the floor for a vote, where most on either side of the legislation believe it will pass.

Across Capitol Hill, new Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) was able to lead the House through a legislative quagmire to pass a Continuing Resolution (CR) and avoid a government shutdown until at least January 19. It’s worth noting that unlike the previous CR which cost Speaker McCarthy his gavel, this one is two steps, with one-third of the government being funded until January 19 and the remainder funded through February 2. Despite that difference, being referred to as a “laddered CR,” it is, like Speaker McCarthy’s bill, a “clean” CR, extending funding at its current levels and including no cuts or policy changes desired by members of the Freedom Caucus. So, while the government now remains funded through the holidays and the new year, the honeymoon for Speaker Johnson is over, with the far-right loudly expressing its displeasure and opposition to Mr. Johnson’s approach. This is also significant because it shows that, despite his strong conservative ideology, Mr. Johnson is not opposed to working with Democrats to get things done.

Separately, on Monday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) – who recently announced his retirement from the Senate – asked Treasury to “strictly interpret” the EV tax credit to bar Chinese suppliers from contributing anything to credit-eligible vehicles. Automakers have noted that barring Chinese manufacturers from the supply chain for EVs would severely limit their ability to produce vehicles in their proposed timelines. Automakers are urging a more lax approach to this provision, which they say would enable them to comply while maintaining their production targets.