Public Announcements

 

LEGISLATION UPDATE - MARCH 23, 2020

Please see below this morning’s update (MARCH 23, 2020) from Miller/Wenhold.  We will continue to do our best to keep our chapter president’s up to date on what is happening in Congress. Please feel free to pass along to your membership as you wish.  Be safe everyone.  Kenny Koerner

Legislation

Supplemental III – “COVID-III”

Timeline: McConnell moved the cloture vote to 6pm to allow for extended time for negotiations. The 6pm procedural vote failed 47-47 (the motion needed 60 votes to pass). After the vote, Leader Schumer outlined the problems Democrats had with the current form of the bill, noting that the two sides “can and should” overcome their disagreements in the next 24 hours. The next vote is scheduled for 9:45am on Monday.

Process and Politics: Negotiations continued last night but broke down in the early morning. Negotiations continued today but not enough progress was made to gain Democratic support by voting time. Democrats have indicated that their top concerns are 1) support for corporations with little oversight or protections for workers, 2) lack of funding for hospitals, medical workers, states, and cities, and 3) expansions to unemployment insurance are not available long enough. Both sides are hopeful to move a bill through the Senate tomorrow and negotiations continue to be ongoing. Also, another bill might be thrown in the mix as Speaker Pelosi has said that the House will release its own bill and it will “hopefully be compatible” with the Senate’s.

Policy: As with previous big deals, nothing is final until everything is final. All policies previously discussed continue to be on the table and could be part of a final deal. Republicans released an updated text of CARES which reflects significant bipartisan and administration input, though it is not the finalized text. Democrats have expressed significant reservations with the text and negotiations continue. Summary of Title I (Small Business), II (Individual and Business provisions), IV (Economic Stabilization) here. Summary of Title III (Health) here. Summary of Division B (appropriations) here. Highlights of changes include:

  • $349 (up from $300) billion for the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) program, and nearly $300 billion for loan guarantees and loan subsidies; 
  • The removal of phase-in or other limitations for low-income taxpayers to receive cash grant;
  • The treatment of cash grants to individuals as a fully refundable tax credit (and thus, available to taxpayers with net negative income tax liability);
  • Removes the delay of tax filing for individuals (as it is believed that administrative action alone is sufficient);
  • Removal of two of the three TCJA technical correction, but kept QIP;
  • $500 billion (increased from $208 billion) in Treasury-administered loans for economic stabilization, including:
    • $17 (up from $0) billion to “businesses critical to maintaining national security;”
    • $425 (up from $150) billion for all other businesses;
  • 3-month expansion to unemployment insurance eligibility for reasons related to COVID-19 (either directly or due to business closures related to COVID-19);
  • $242 billion in appropriations (summary here), which designates the following:
    • $100 billion for health preparedness like vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics;
    • $75 billion for hospitals;
    • $20 billion for veterans’ health;
    • $20 billion for public transportation relief;
    • $12 billion for DOD;
    • $12 billion for K-12 education and $6 billion for higher-ed;
    • $10 billion for state block grants;
    • $10 billion for airports; and
    • $5 billion for FEMA disaster relief;
    • $4.5 billion for CDC; and
    • $1.7 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

 

 Supplemental IV and onward

  • Leadership has agreed on drafting a fourth and fifth supplemental – unclear what will be included yet.

 

Passed Legislation

Supplemental II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)

  • The Senate passed the bill 90-8 Wednesday afternoon and the President signed the bill into law that evening. Bill text here. Factsheet here. Bill section by section here. A summary of paid leave provisions, incorporating changes made by technical correction, is here.

 

Supplemental I – Coronavirus Supplemental

  • Signed by the President March 6.
  • Text here, summary here.

 

Congress

  • House is currently in recess but will be called back when votes are needed on the next supplemental (with 24-hour notice). House Democratic leaders have said that members will not have to return until after a deal the supplemental is reached.
  • Senate is in session. Leader McConnell has said the Senate will stay in session until a third supplemental has passed.
  • As of right now, the appropriations markup schedule is unchanged. Most House bills have subcommittee markup dates the weeks of April 21 and April 28, while the Senate has not yet set its markup dates.
  • Remote voting: Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell have both voiced opposition to members’ voting remotely, but as more members of Congress have begun self-quarantining and the pandemic makes travel more treacherous, in-person voting may become more difficult. Speaker Pelosi circulated a Dear Colleague last week stating that the House will “adjust our voting procedures in order to follow the CDC’s recommendations.” Similarly, in its notice of the vote Sunday, the Senate Cloakroom encouraged members to socially distance during votes. Remote voting is being discussed to some extent in both chambers.
  • Virtual hearings: While most hearings and markups for the next week or so have been cancelled, some committee staff are working to see whether holding hearings virtually is possible.

 

Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold)

Tested Positive (3): Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)

Currently Self-Quarantined (26): Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)

 

Completed Quarantine (2): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC)