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Legislative / Policy Update

House. The House is in session this week, considering two dozen noncontroversial bills under suspension today, 16 of which are naming post offices. The House will consider other legislation later in the week. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said today that he hopes the House next week will consider a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. No agreement has been reached on the duration of the CR.

Senate. The Senate is in session and will continue to consider nominations.

Covid Relief. As expected, the “skinny” Covid-relief proposal crafted by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to garner the necessary 60 votes to advance last week. The proposal was supported by 52 of the chamber’s 53 Republicans (all except Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky) but received no Democratic support when put to a vote on Sept. 10. Currently there are no negotiations taking place between the two sides, so we are left with dueling quotes from the leaders of the Senate and the House. “I wish I could tell you we’re going to get another package,” McConnell said Friday, “but it doesn’t look that good right now.” The same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “I’m optimistic. I do think we should have an agreement. That’s what we all want.”

Committee Action of Note:

  • Tuesday, September 15
    • House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing: “The Health, Economic, and Political Challenges Facing Latin America and the Caribbean.”
    • Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to examine whether Google harmed competition in online advertising.
  • Wednesday, September 16
    • Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee business meeting to consider various measures including:
      • S. 3969, Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020; S. 4286, Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act; Nominations of Robert Primus to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board; Theodore Rokita, Sarah Feinberg, and Chris Koos to be members of the Amtrak Board of Directors
    • House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing: “Building a 100% Clean Economy: Opportunities for an Equitable, Low-Carbon Recovery.”
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine the nominations of Allison Clements and Mark C. Christie to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
    • Senate Appropriations Committee hearing to examine the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus response, focusing on a review of efforts to date and next steps.
    • House Financial Services Committee hearing: “Prioritizing Fannie’s and Freddie’s Capital over America’s Homeowners and Renters? A Review of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining hearing on several bills including, S. 3485, the OFFSHORE Act.
  • Thursday, September 17
    • House Financial Services Committee hearing: Insider Trading and Stock Option Grants: An Examination of Corporate Integrity in the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Political Update

Elections. Delaware will hold its primary elections tomorrow, the last primaries in the nation before November. Democratic Senator Chris Coons is expected to beat back a challenge from Jessica Scarane, who is endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America and is running on Medicare for All and the Green New Deal.

Fundraising. Last week President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee announced that they raised $210 million in August – $45 million more than the previous month and the largest one-month effort by a Republican candidate. However, that tally falls short of Vice President Biden and the Democratic National Committee’s record-shattering total of $365 million in August. After the announcement of Kamala Harris as Biden’s running mate, the campaign raised almost $50 million in two days. Neither campaign has released their cash-on-hand numbers for August. In response to the Democrats’ announcement, Trump suggested he would spend up to $100 million of his own money on his reelection effort if he has to. (In 2016, he contributed $66 million to his campaign.) In response to Trump’s remarks, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said he plans to spend at least $100 million in Florida in support of Biden.

Polls. Polls released this weekend from the New York Times show Vice President Biden with a lead over President Trump in the battleground states of Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Wisconsin. A CBS News/YouGov poll showed Biden with a 3-point lead in Arizona.

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