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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:

  • Tuesday, September 22
    • Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Hearing: Offshore Energy Technologies.
    • Joint Economic Committee Hearing: “The Economic Impact of America's Failure to Contain the Coronavirus."
    • House Financial Services Committee Hearing: Oversight of the Treasury Department's and Federal Reserve's Pandemic Response.
    • House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Hearing: "Trump Administration Broken Promises on Renewable Energy."
  • Wednesday, September 23
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Hearing: "COVID-19: An Update on the Federal Response."
    • Senate Judiciary Committee Intellectual Property Subcommittee Hearing: "Examining Threats to American Intellectual Property: Cyber-attacks and Counterfeits During the COVID-19 Pandemic."
    • Senate Budget Committee Hearing on CBO’s Updated Budget Outlook.
    • House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Hearing with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell.
    • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing: "Driving Equity: The U.S. Department of Transportation's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program."
    • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing: "Health Care Lifeline: The Affordable Care Act and the COVID-19 Pandemic."
    • House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Hearing: Immigrants as Essential Workers During COVID-19.
    • House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight “Data for Decision-Making: Responsible Management of Data During COVID 19 and Beyond.”
  • Thursday, September 24
    • Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing: "The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress."
    • House Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development Hearing: Paycheck Protection Program: An Examination of Loan Forgiveness, SBA Legacy Systems, and Inaccurate Data.
    • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security Hearing: Save Our Social Security Now.
    • House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment Hearing: "Climate Change, Part IV: Moving Towards a Sustainable Future"
  • Friday, September 25
    • House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Hearing: Restaurants in America During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
    • House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access Hearing: A Review of PPP Forgiveness.

Political Update

Countdowns:

  • 43 days until Election Day.
  • 8 days until the first Presidential debate on Sept. 29 in Cleveland.

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.


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