Legislative / Policy Update
Senate. The Senate this week will continue to consider nominations.
House. In addition to dozens of non-controversial suspension bills, the House this week will vote on the Clean Economy and Jobs Innovation Act, a broad-ranging package that includes provisions dealing with energy efficiency, electric vehicles, the electricity grid, and renewable technologies. Also on the schedule this week is House consideration of a continuing resolution to fund the government beyond Sept. 30.
Continuing Resolution. The CR unveiled today in the House would provide funding through Dec. 11 and extend various health-related programs through the same date. One-year extensions, through Sept. 30, 2021, would be provided for surface transportation programs and the flood insurance program. House leaders had hoped to release the CR language last week, but an agreement between the two parties could not be reached on additional funds for farmers.
The Trump Administration wants the CR to include funds to refill the $30-billion Commodity Credit Corporation account that the Agriculture Department uses to make payments to farmers. Democrats objected to including the funds in the CR, noting that not all of the money in the account has been spent and more information is needed on how the money would be spent. Viewed through a political lens, Democrats see the additional agriculture dollars as an “unaccountable political slush fund,” in the words of one staffer, to reward farmers hurt by Trump’s policies. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the other hand, says the House version of the CR “shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need.” Given McConnell’s position, there’s a good chance the Senate will add farm funds to the House CR and send it back to the House. The issue needs to be resolved by Sept. 30 to avoid a government shutdown.
Covid Package. While there are still no negotiations taking place on Covid legislation, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will be testifying on Capitol Hill twice this week and is sure to get questions about the next package. Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jay Powell will discuss the Cares Act and their agencies’ responses to the pandemic at hearings Tuesday in the House Financial Services Committee and Thursday in the Senate Banking Committee.
Committee Action of Note:
Polling. According to the latest Real Clear Politics Average, Joe Biden is at 49.5% nationally with a 6.5-point advantage over President Trump. Polls released this weekend show Biden up in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Michigan while Trump narrowly edges out Biden in Texas. Biden is leading with older white voters, a key demographic for the President.
Fundraising. Following the Friday night announcement of the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Democrats saw a surge in fundraising. ActBlue, an online fundraising hub for Democratic candidates, said donations broke records for money raised in an hour and in a single day, with more than $100 million donated since 8 p.m. Friday.
While there are still no details on what a scaled-back reconciliation package will look like, Senator Manchin’s opposition to the Clean Electricity Performance Program may lead to its being dropped from the legislation. There’s no clear path to agreement on FY 2022 appropriations bills, but Senate Democrats released their spending proposals on Monday.Read More