President Joe Biden meets with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell...

President Joe Biden meets with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) in February at the White House. Credit: Getty Images / Roberto Schmidt

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress have their work cut out for them when they reconvene this week after the Easter recess with a must-do list that includes an impeachment and federal funding for the Baltimore bridge collapse.

“When we return, we have a busy agenda facing us,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told his caucus in a letter Friday that also warned partisan battles led by hardcore conservatives might lie ahead.

Topping the agenda will be the House Republicans’ delivery to the Senate on Wednesday of the two articles of impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, forcing Schumer to determine how to proceed.

The long-delayed supplemental funding for Ukraine, and the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and a national security surveillance tool also rank as top priorities, Schumer and the office of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told Newsday.

And Schumer will seek passage of a bill mandating online safety for children and a measure to lower costs of prescription drugs.

“I always try to do things bipartisan, and that's what we've been able to do so far this year, even working with Johnson,” Schumer told Newsday on Friday.

“But the one great danger, the one great obstacle,” he said, “is if the MAGA extremists on the hard right try to blow everything up. And that's what Johnson is wrestling with and, derivatively, we have to wrestle with, to make sure they don't do it.”

Here are some of the issues the two leaders, both with narrow majorities, will encounter as lawmakers begin the first of 12 weeks that the Senate and House have scheduled to meet before the August recess and near full-time campaigning for the Nov. 5 general election.

On Wednesday, Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and the 10 other House Republican impeachment managers will walk across the U.S. Capitol, enter the Senate chamber and deliver and read to senators two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas.

The articles accuse him of “high crimes and misdemeanors, including his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law and his breach of the public trust” in the handling of the U.S.-Mexico border by the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden. Mayorkas, the White House and Democrats reject the charges as unproven and untrue.

The next day, all 100 senators will be sworn in as jurors for a Senate impeachment trial, Schumer’s letter said. Senate President Pro Tem Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will preside.

Schumer aims to dispatch with the impeachment charges quickly, his office said. But he has avoided disclosing how he will proceed. His options include a full-blown trial, dismissal of the charges, or referral of the impeachment to a committee.

The White House and Schumer are waiting for a proposal from Johnson for U.S. aid for Ukraine after he refused to hold a House vote on $95 billion in supplemental funds for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan the Senate passed in a bipartisan 70-29 vote in February.

Johnson floated possible approaches on Monday for Ukraine funding.

One would turn much of the aid into a loan, an idea backed by former President Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president. Another would fund the aid with proceeds of the sale of frozen Russian sovereign assets. Johnson said he also might tie aid to lifting Biden’s pause on liquefied natural gas exports.

Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) panned Johnson’s plan for a new supplemental fund package.

“The easiest and best and maybe only way to pass the supplemental is what Leader McConnell and I agree on: Put the Senate bill on the House floor and it will pass overwhelmingly,” Schumer said.

Biden visited Baltimore on Friday to survey the damage to the Port of Baltimore from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. He also met with the families of the six men working on the bridge when a container ship rammed it.

Biden quickly approved $60 million toward the cleanup and on Friday his administration submitted an authorizing request to allow the federal government to pay the entire cost of the cleanup and rebuilding of the bridge, which spans important shipping lanes for a busy port.

Some lawmakers have balked at that promise, saying the ship owner’s insurance should pay for the work of clearing and reconstructing the bridge. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) called Biden's promise to pay for 100% of the cost “kind of outrageous.”

The House and Senate will try to resolve differences over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration for five years to keep airports open and funded. The FAA’s authorization expired in 2023, but Congress approved an extension until May 10.

And Congress has until April 19 to reauthorize a warrantless surveillance law that collects phone calls, emails and texts from non-Americans.

Avril Haines, the director of National Intelligence, calls Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act a valuable tool that disrupts terrorists and urges reauthorization.

Civil liberties activists demand reforms because the warrantless surveillance picks up foreign communications with Americans that agents search through and review without required warrants. They've searched for a House member, protesters and Jan. 6 riot suspects, among others.

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress have their work cut out for them when they reconvene this week after the Easter recess with a must-do list that includes an impeachment and federal funding for the Baltimore bridge collapse.

“When we return, we have a busy agenda facing us,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told his caucus in a letter Friday that also warned partisan battles led by hardcore conservatives might lie ahead.

Topping the agenda will be the House Republicans’ delivery to the Senate on Wednesday of the two articles of impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, forcing Schumer to determine how to proceed.

The long-delayed supplemental funding for Ukraine, and the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration and a national security surveillance tool also rank as top priorities, Schumer and the office of House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) told Newsday.

And Schumer will seek passage of a bill mandating online safety for children and a measure to lower costs of prescription drugs.

“I always try to do things bipartisan, and that's what we've been able to do so far this year, even working with Johnson,” Schumer told Newsday on Friday.

“But the one great danger, the one great obstacle,” he said, “is if the MAGA extremists on the hard right try to blow everything up. And that's what Johnson is wrestling with and, derivatively, we have to wrestle with, to make sure they don't do it.”

Here are some of the issues the two leaders, both with narrow majorities, will encounter as lawmakers begin the first of 12 weeks that the Senate and House have scheduled to meet before the August recess and near full-time campaigning for the Nov. 5 general election.

Impeachment

On Wednesday, Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) and the 10 other House Republican impeachment managers will walk across the U.S. Capitol, enter the Senate chamber and deliver and read to senators two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas.

The articles accuse him of “high crimes and misdemeanors, including his willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law and his breach of the public trust” in the handling of the U.S.-Mexico border by the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden. Mayorkas, the White House and Democrats reject the charges as unproven and untrue.

The next day, all 100 senators will be sworn in as jurors for a Senate impeachment trial, Schumer’s letter said. Senate President Pro Tem Patty Murray (D-Wash.) will preside.

Schumer aims to dispatch with the impeachment charges quickly, his office said. But he has avoided disclosing how he will proceed. His options include a full-blown trial, dismissal of the charges, or referral of the impeachment to a committee.

Ukraine

The White House and Schumer are waiting for a proposal from Johnson for U.S. aid for Ukraine after he refused to hold a House vote on $95 billion in supplemental funds for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan the Senate passed in a bipartisan 70-29 vote in February.

Johnson floated possible approaches on Monday for Ukraine funding.

One would turn much of the aid into a loan, an idea backed by former President Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president. Another would fund the aid with proceeds of the sale of frozen Russian sovereign assets. Johnson said he also might tie aid to lifting Biden’s pause on liquefied natural gas exports.

Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) panned Johnson’s plan for a new supplemental fund package.

“The easiest and best and maybe only way to pass the supplemental is what Leader McConnell and I agree on: Put the Senate bill on the House floor and it will pass overwhelmingly,” Schumer said.

Baltimore bridge

Biden visited Baltimore on Friday to survey the damage to the Port of Baltimore from the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. He also met with the families of the six men working on the bridge when a container ship rammed it.

Biden quickly approved $60 million toward the cleanup and on Friday his administration submitted an authorizing request to allow the federal government to pay the entire cost of the cleanup and rebuilding of the bridge, which spans important shipping lanes for a busy port.

Some lawmakers have balked at that promise, saying the ship owner’s insurance should pay for the work of clearing and reconstructing the bridge. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) called Biden's promise to pay for 100% of the cost “kind of outrageous.”

Reauthorizations

The House and Senate will try to resolve differences over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration for five years to keep airports open and funded. The FAA’s authorization expired in 2023, but Congress approved an extension until May 10.

And Congress has until April 19 to reauthorize a warrantless surveillance law that collects phone calls, emails and texts from non-Americans.

Avril Haines, the director of National Intelligence, calls Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act a valuable tool that disrupts terrorists and urges reauthorization.

Civil liberties activists demand reforms because the warrantless surveillance picks up foreign communications with Americans that agents search through and review without required warrants. They've searched for a House member, protesters and Jan. 6 riot suspects, among others.

Latest videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME