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What's Ahead in Washington

Appropriations Markups
The House Appropriations Committee will begin full panel markups on July 9 of spending legislation for the upcoming fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, according to a schedule released by Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY). Subcommittee markups will be Juy 6-8. In addition to holding markups as quickly as possible, appropriators will have to find ways to hold markups while social distancing in a larger room than usual.

Subcommittee markups will happen in the following order:
July 6: State and Foreign Operations, Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA
July 7: Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, Legislative Branch, Energy and Water, Labor-HHS-Education
July 8: Commerce-Justice-Science, Transportation-HUD, Financial Services, Defense

Full committee markups include:
July 9: 302(b) allocations, State and Foreign Operations, Agriculture-FDA, Military Construction-VA
July 10: Energy and Water, Interior-Environment

Full committee markups will continue July 13, and finish July 16, Lowey said.
From Bloomberg Government reports
 

Democrats Seek FDA Vaccine Briefing: 
Democrats on House oversight panels asked the Food and Drug Administration to brief their staff on the development, review, and deployment of any eventual Covid-19 vaccines, according to a letter to the agency. Members urged the FDA to set rules and ensure transparency of the process to win the public’s trust for the vaccine. Wall Street predicts the White House will push through approval of one or maybe even two Covid-19 vaccines to help bolster Trump’s chances before the presidential election. While scientists have set their eyes on a vaccine by early next year at the soonest, sell-side research analysts have been bringing in experts to weigh in on the possibility of a shorter timeline—ahead of the Nov. 3 vote.
From Bloomberg Government reports


Policing Bills: Shelved in the Senate, Passed in the House—Now what?
The Democratically controlled House amended and passed its police bill (H.R. 71200) on Thursday, 236-181. It would make it easier to sue police for alleged rights violations, establish a national police misconduct database, prohibit chokeholds, and curtail transfers of military equipment to police departments. Three Republicans voted in favor of the bill.
 
The measure will now move to the Senate, where Senate Democrats blocked Republicans’ police legislation from floor consideration in a procedural vote of 45 to 55; it needed 60 votes to advance. The proposal by Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) was criticized by democrats for being too incremental and lacking critical mandates on banning chokeholds or reporting police misconduct.

Democrats are betting that public pressure will push Republicans closer to a comprehensive police overhaul, a move that could risk losing momentum as the Senate shelves its police bill and moves on to other matters.
With the house bill passed and the Senate left without a bill, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) said that will force Republicans to negotiate in the weeks ahead in a more bipartisan fashion. 
From the BBC


Climate Report to be Issued Tuesday
A climate panel launched by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will unveil its long-awaited recommendations on Tuesday—but the report won’t be bipartisan.
The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis report, underway for roughly 14 months, will stitch together recommendations to virtually every House committee.
It’s expected to endorse a broad expansion of clean energy incentives, tightening climate regulations for federal agencies, and adding more emphasis on next-generation energy technologies, according to people familiar with the report.
From Bloomberg Government reports


Obamacare Vote Ahead Next Week
The House will vote next week on a bill to bolster Obamacare and allow the government to negotiate the price of some medicines, an election-year move by Democrats to signal their priorities on health care.
H.R. 1425 is largely a repeat of bills the Democratic-controlled House already passed, mostly largely along party lines. It would expand the Affordable Care Act’s tax credits, entice states to expand their Medicaid programs with the promise of more federal funds, and cap what any person would pay for insurance premiums at 8.5% of their income.
The cost of these measures to the government would be offset by letting federal agencies demand drug makers lower the prices of certain medicines, as proposed in a measure (H.R. 3) opposed by nearly all Republicans in December. From Politico


Infrastructure Bill Set to Move
The House Rules Committee said it plans to convene Monday on a sweeping infrastructure, clean energy, and education package, clearing the way for floor action. Panel members will meet at 1 p.m. on H.R. 2, according to the committee’s website.
House Democrats unveiled details of their $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan this past week that would pay for broadband deployment, water projects, fight contamination from “forever chemicals,” and move toward a national network of electric vehicle charging stations.
The 2,309-page package combines a $500 billion surface transportation bill that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved June 18 with a grab bag of other clean energy, infrastructure, and education funding proposals already unveiled by Democrats in recent months.
The bill faces scant chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate, but its proposals provide an illustration for what Democrats hope to achieve if they control the White House and Senate as well as the House next year.
The portion of the package outside of the highway and transit reauthorization includes:
  • $80 billion in direct support for broadband construction and an additional $5 billion to leverage as financing.
  • $70 billion to address lead hazards and other urgent health needs in public housing.
  • $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service.
  • An additional $15 billion for construction and operation of water resources projects by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
From Transport Topics


Wicker plans hearing on Compensation for Collegiate Athletes
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, is conducting a full committee hearing on Compensation for Collegiate Athletes Wednesday, July 1. The Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade and Consumer Protection first considered this issue with a similar hearing in February. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby testified at that subcommittee hearing. This time, representatives of the SEC and Ole Miss will be the main witnesses.
 This hearing will examine the National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors’ recent report on student-athlete compensation and the modernization of rules related to name, image, and likeness (NIL) commercialization. Witnesses will have the opportunity to discuss topics regarding commercial use of student-athletes’ NIL while preserving the integrity of collegiate institutions and amateurism in college sports.  
From KBS sources & Bloomberg Government


Senate, House Unveil Broadband Bills
Senate Commerce Committee Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS) has introduced a bill that seeks to create a fund at the FCC to incentivize broadband build out, according to a Senate Cmte aide. Wicker introduced the bill along with Republican co-sponsors Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
The fund would build upon the FCC’s Rural Development Opportunity Fund to process high-speed broadband for rural areas faster that currently planned. Read more
 
On the House side, House Energy and Commerce Republicans this week unveiled 26 bills that seek to boost broadband internet access and hasten their build-out through the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis has “demonstrated that the Internet is more than just a helpful tool – it’s a lifeline to help Americans access health care, earn a living, receive an education, and more,” Energy and Commerce panel ranking member Greg Walden (R-OR) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) said in a statement. Read more


DC Statehood Up for a Vote in the House
Washington, D.C. would be admitted as the 51st state and given full representation in Congress under H.R. 51, which the House will today, Friday, June 26.
The new “State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass, would be admitted under terms set by the bill. An area including the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, and other federal office buildings near the National Mall would remain a federal enclave called the “Capital.”
The planned vote on the measure would be the first time Congress has voted on D.C. statehood in almost 30 years. However, it is unlikely to be considered in the Senate. From NBC News


The House is not in session the week of June 29, 2020
The Senate is in session the week of June 29, 2020.



Highlighted House Committee Hearings
June 29
House Committee on Rules - Meeting
Formulate a rule on H.R. 2-INVEST in America Act [Moving Forward Act]
 
       
 June 30
House Committee on Armed Services - Markup
H.R. 6395 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021
     
 
 July 1
House Committee on Small Business - Hearing
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: Status Update from the Administration
 
July 2
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Hearing:
"The Administration's Efforts to Procure, Stockpile, and Distribute Critical Supplies"
 

Highlighted Senate Committee Hearings
June 30
Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee - Hearing
“COVID-19: Update on Progress Toward Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School."
 
Senate Finance Committee - Hearing
"2020 Filing Season and IRS COVID-19 Recovery."
 
July 1
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation - Hearing
"Exploring a Compensation Framework for Intercollegiate Athletes."



 

 

Not to be missed


Senator Hawley’s Answer to Renaming Bases
A GOP member of the Senate Armed Services Committee proposed legislation Wednesday that is aimed at countering a campaign to expunge from Defense Department property homages to the Confederacy. The friction over this question will loom large when the Senate takes up the defense bill, or NDAA, which is queued up for debate next week.
The $731.3 billion measure, made public this week by the Senate Armed Services Committee, contains a provision that would require the Pentagon to remove from its assets within three years any “names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate” the Confederacy or anyone who voluntarily served with it. 
Senator Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) amendment would do away with the mandate to remove Confederate names and instead leave it to a commission to explore the matter — with a requirement for state and local input. The commission would make recommendations to Congress in October 2022. And lawmakers would then have to decide what to do.
“Any discussion about renaming bases should be had in the light of day, out in the open, and it should involve military families, veterans, and state and local stakeholders,” Hawley said in a statement Wednesday. “That’s what my amendment would do.”
From Roll Call


Airport Temperature Scans in Your Future?
Los Angeles International Airport will begin testing temperature-scanning cameras on passengers in the coming days, making it the largest U.S. airport known to experiment with the technology at scale.
Airport officials hope the cameras will help them root out passengers with coronavirus by detecting those who have a fever. The airport will place thermal cameras at Tom Bradley International Terminal so they can scan passenger temperatures as they walk by.
No passengers will be denied boarding because they have high temperatures, said Heath Montgomery, public relations director for Los Angeles World Airports. The goal for now is to test the effectiveness of the technology so findings can be shared with other airports, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the airport said in a presentation. From the LA Times


Senators Demand Answers from EPA on Refinery Waivers
The EPA must reject bids by refineries to secure retroactive waivers of federal biofuel-blending requirements, a bipartisan group of senators said Thursday.
“These petitions should not even be entertained,” Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA)  and 14 other senators said in a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler
Retroactive waivers “would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports,” they say. More from the National Biodiesel Board


 

KBS Best

Ameren launches companywide fundraising effort
To help customers and communities in need, Ameren Corporation has launched the AmerenCares "Power of Giving" COVID-19 Relief Fund, which has more than $500,000 of commitments from its employees and Board of Directors in the campaign's first two weeks. Funds will be used to directly support nonprofit programs for COVID-19 relief across Missouri and Illinois. 
"We recognize that the needs of our customers and communities in Missouri and Illinois during this unprecedented time are significant," said Warner Baxter, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ameren Corporation. "While our co-workers are focused on delivering safe and reliable electricity and natural gas every day during this challenging period of time, they wanted to do more to personally assist our neighbors in need and help our communities recover from this pandemic."
The campaign will run through the end of August. Read more
 
KBS has been proud to work with Ameren since 2011.

 

 
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