Legislative / Policy Update
Senate. The Senate is in recess until July 20. When Senators return, they will resume consideration of two pieces of unfinished business – the nomination of Russ Vought to head the Office of Management and Budget and final votes on the National Defense Authorization Act.
House. There will be no House floor votes until the week of July 20, but various committees are holding hearings and markups this week and next. Last week, Democrats pushed through two pieces of legislation that the Senate has no intention of approving – a $1.5-trillion infrastructure bill (passed 233-188) and legislation to expand the Affordable Care Act (on a 234-179 vote).
FY 2021 Appropriations. House appropriators will be busy Monday through Wednesday marking up all 12 FY 2021 appropriations bills in subcommittee. Most amendments are expected to be considered at the full committee level rather than by the 12 subcommittees. On Thursday and Friday, full committee markups are scheduled for five of the bills. The remaining seven bills will be marked up the week of July 13.
PPP Extension. Under the rules set by the CARES Act for the Paycheck Protection Program, June 30 was the last day to apply for a PPP loan. However, on June 30, there was still slightly more than $130 billion left to lend and small businesses were still struggling. In a surprise move on June 30, the Senate gave unanimous consent to a request by Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Small Business Committee, to extend the program until Aug. 8. That date was chosen, Cardin said, because the Senate plans to hold its last votes before the August recess on Aug. 7. The House quickly followed suit, passing the bill the next day by unanimous consent, and President Trump signed the legislation on July 4.
Committee Action of Note:
Elections. New Jersey and Delaware will hold elections on Tuesday. In two competitive primaries in South Jersey, Republican voters will choose who will face Rep. Andy Kim in the third district and Democrats will select a nominee to challenge Rep. Jeff Van Drew in the second district. Van Drew flipped the seat from red to blue in 2018, and then switched parties to Republican in 2019.
Fundraising. For the second month in a row, Joe Biden and the DNC have outraised President Trump and the RNC. The Trump joint fundraising committee had their best month ever, raising $131 million in June for a total of $266 million this quarter. Biden’s campaign announced that they had raised $141 million in June for a total of $282 million this quarter. Over the past two years, the Trump campaign has raised $947 million and has more than $295 million in cash on hand. The Biden campaign has not released its cash-on-hand numbers.
House Foreign Affairs Committee. The June 23 Democratic primary in New York pitting Rep. Eliot Engel against Jamaal Bowman has not been officially decided, pending the counting of absentee ballots, but there is already speculation as to who might take Engel’s place next year as the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, assuming Democrats stay in the majority. With Engel trailing after in-person votes were tallied, the talk around the Hill was that the race would be between the two members who have the most seniority on the committee – Reps. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.).
In the next week or two, the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to post online its versions of the FY 2012 spending bills. House Democrats will hold their caucus leadership elections Nov. 18 and 19 and contested committee chairmanship elections the week of Nov. 30. On the election front, over 29 million voters have already voted, amounting to 21% of 2016’s total turnout.Read More