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What's Ahead in Washington

House Heads Home Amid Unfinished Business
House Democrats ended the session Friday, refusing to negotiate on virus aid, with a weekend meeting hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) planned for Saturday with the White House and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The two sides are said to be very far apart on any kind of deal.

Lawmakers in both parties have signaled that they could quickly move on more pandemic relief for businesses once a compromise is found on the more contentious issues, including the federal pandemic unemployment aid expiring Friday.
People counting on the enhanced unemployment benefit should be concerned, says White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, adding the White House is willing to compromise.
The House has departed for a tentative five-week recess subject to return as negotiations continue on the effort to aid the coronavirus-ravaged U.S. economy. The Senate is scheduled to begin its August break at the end of next week. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the chamber won’t be in session next week but members will be subject to recall on 24 hours notice if a deal is reached and ready for a vote.
More from The Hill

Senate “H.E.A.L.S.” Act
The Senate will continue work next week on the Republican legislative vehicle for pandemic relief. Republicans introduced eight bills containing elements of the relief bundle, called the “Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act,” or “HEALS Act.”
Supplemental unemployment benefits would be continued at a reduced level of $200 per week, about $300 billion in emergency funding would be provided, and the Paycheck Protection Program would be extended and modified under a $1 trillion Covid-19 package.
The package would also shield employers, schools, and businesses, among other entities, from liability if they make “reasonable efforts” to follow public health guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Additional funding for schools and coronavirus testing would also be provided.
Eligible individuals would receive another direct payment of as much as $1,200.
The package would expand tax breaks for business meal and employee protection expenses, as well as for business that have hired or retained workers. It omits the payroll tax cut sought by President Donald Trump.
From CNN

Notes from Majority Leader McConnell’s Floor Speech, introducing the HEALS act
As a summary, KBS partner Kenny Hulshof has provided some concise notes from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) floor speech.
“We have produced a tailored measure that will focus on three crises: getting kids back to school. getting workers back to work and winning the healthcare fight against the virus..
Chairmen Alexander (R-TN), Blunt (R-MO), and Shelby (R-AL) will introduce a schools fund that funds schools at a greater rate than Democrats.
Chairman Grassley (R-IA) will introduce another round of direct checks for households at the same amount as before, with a greater amount for those caring for vulnerable adults.
Republicans will continue a federal supplement to unemployment insurance and will propose a dollar amount greater than what Democrats proposed during the Great Recession.
We have strong economic incentives for worker retention, helping workers get hired, and helping businesses buy PPE and equipment to protect workers.
We have reexamined our dependence on China – Chairman Graham (R-SC) has legislation to incentivize PPE production at home to help American workers.
We will also focus on IP theft, semiconductor manufacturing, and critical materials.
We have legislation on healthcare to boost diagnostic treatments and vaccines.
Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) has strong legal liability protections so healthcare facilities, colleges, employers, and others can reopen rather than fighting lawsuits. We will not let trial lawyers “throw a party” on the backs of essential workers.”
For more on the HEALS Act, legislative text, floor remarks and other information, click here.

The House is not in session the week of August 3, 2020
The Senate is in session the week of August 3, 2020.

Highlighted House Committee Hearings
August 6
House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Hearing:
Remote Hearing on "Challenges to Safely Reopening K-12 Schools"


Highlighted Senate Committee Hearings
August 4
Senate Judiciary Committee
The Constitution Subcommittee Hearing:
 "The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence (Rescheduled)."
August 5
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
Full Committee Hearing to Examine Efforts to Improve Cybersecurity for the Energy Sector
August 6
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Hearing
"Oversight of DHS Personnel Deployments to Recent Protests."


Not to be missed

Mask Mandates in Airplanes and Airports Proposed
Leading Democrats in Congress, frustrated with what they say are inadequate protections against Covid-19 in air travel, introduced legislation to require the federal government to mandate face masks on flights and in airports.
The bill, unveiled on Thursday, would also force the government to create a national aviation preparedness plan for epidemics—which is required under an international treaty but was never done in the U.S.—and to ramp up government-sponsored study of how infectious diseases are transmitted on airliners.
Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) co-sponsored the bill and is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.The law would authorize criminal penalties for passengers who disobey a flight crew’s instructions to wear a mask on a plane and sets civil fines for people who don’t wear masks in an airport. The legislation is sponsored by 20 lawmakers, all Democrats, and comes as mask usage becomes increasingly political.
Two Senators have also proposed similar legislation in the Senate, but it’s unclear whether such a bill could pass in the Republican-controlled chamber.
 From The Hill

No More Mask Exemptions on Southwest Flights
Southwest Airlines now says the airline won’t be able to transport anyone over 2 years old who won’t wear a face mask, even those with medical conditions.
Southwest Airlines updated its mask policy Wednesday, followed by American Airlines a few hours later. Both removed the exception for those with medical conditions. The stricter rules even call for passengers to wear a mask from the second they enter the airport until exiting the airport on the other end.
“If a customer is unable to wear a face-covering or mask for any reason, Southwest regrets that we will be unable to transport the individual,” Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said in statement. " In those cases, we hope the customer will allow us to welcome them onboard in the future, if public health guidance, or other safety-related circumstances, regarding face coverings changes.”
From the Dallas Morning News

Vaccine Update
The Trump administration will offer as much as $2.1 billion to Covid-19 vaccine partners GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, the biggest U.S. investment so far in fast-tracking shots and snapping up supplies. Part of “Operation Warp Speed,” the funding will support clinical trials and manufacturing while letting the U.S. secure 100 million doses of the shot, if it’s successful, the companies said today. The U.S. has the option of receiving an additional 500 million doses longer term
In Japan, Pfizer and BioNTech agreed to provide the nation with 120 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine they’re developing. The U.S. pharmaceutical giant and the German biotech firm said they’d supply the shots in the first half of 2021. Pfizer and BioNTech said earlier this week that they’ve started a later-stage trial of their candidate and set a goal for regulatory review as soon as October.
From the New York Times

House Passes $51 Billion Bill for Energy Department, Army Corps
Measure would include more money for renewable energy
The House passed a six-bill fiscal 2021 spending package that would include billions of dollars in funding for the Energy Department, the Army Corps of Engineers, and related agencies.

The $50.5 billion bill passed the lower chamber 217-197 on Friday.

The White House issued a statement recommending President Donald Trump veto H.R. 7617 if it reaches him, in part because the administration objects to the provision prohibiting funds for a border wall along the Mexican border. The statement also objected to the bill’s continued funding of $435 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which the administration proposed eliminating.

The Senate hasn’t yet marked up any of its fiscal 2021 spending bills.
More from Politico


KBS Best

How about some good news about a cute baby elephant?
Baby Elephant at St. Louis Zoo Getting Stronger

An elephant calf who was born earlier in July at the St. Louis Zoo who has been struggling to develop and feed “has shown signs of getting stronger” over the last week but remains in intensive care, the zoo has announced.

The male calf was born July 6 to Rani, a 24-year-old Asian elephant. He was the first male Asian elephant born there in 27 years.

The previous week, the zoo announced the calf had “developmental impairments that have limited his ability to feed since birth,” according to a tweet from the zoo Twitter account. More recently, they said on twitter that keepers and veterinarians have focused on “maintaining his hydration, electrolyte and nutritional status, although his feeding instincts remain underdeveloped.”

They are looking after the elephant around the clock, and said they appreciate people’s continued support and positive thoughts.
More from
KBS Partner Linda Bond and Director Mike Dubois have worked with the St. Louis Zoo for four years.

Copyright © 2020 Kit Bond Strategies  All rights reserved.

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