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What's Ahead in Washington

Speaker Wants Relief for Airlines, Restaurants in Covid Response
Some House Democrats are keeping pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to bring a new pandemic relief bill for a vote next week, as they look to signal to voters that their party is pursuing an agreement to bolster the U.S. economy. Pelosi said Thursday that voting on some version of a Democratic stimulus bill is one of the options that’s been under discussion within the party to break the impasse with their Senate Republican counterparts and the White House.

Pelosi said in an interview with MSNBC that she has a "beautifully diverse caucus." She noted that some Democrats want her to once again put the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act — which passed in the House in May but has not been considered in the Senate — on the House floor for another vote and "come down from there."

Speaker Pelosi is saying she’s willing to negotiate more aid, including for the straggling airline industry, the day after President Donald Trump signaled his own support. She didn’t give any specifics about how much aid should go to airlines and other businesses, like restaurants, or what other priorities might have to be dropped or scaled back.
From CBS News

Deadline for CR Just a Few Weeks Away
Congressional Democrats are discussing a stopgap bill to fund the government into February, according to a recent report in The Hill.

A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), asked about the possibility, said it was discussed during a closed-door leadership meeting but no decision was made.

Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) both held calls on Tuesday with the New Democrat Coalition, comprised of party centrists, with a source familiar with the discussion saying the plan for House Democrats “seems” to be to push for a continuing resolution (CR) into February. A House Democratic aide said that while discussions are ongoing, “most Democrats prefer an end date in 2021.”

Hoyer: Surface Transportation and Flood Insurance To Be Included in CR
Language to extend the nation’s surface transportation and flood insurance laws will be included in a funding measure aimed at avoiding a government shutdown at the end of the month, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said.

Surface transportation law expires Sept. 30 and must be renewed to keep funds flowing to state and local transportation agencies. Top lawmakers said last week they’d back a one-year extension.

Without action on National Flood Insurance Program, Federal Emergency Management Agency couldn’t issue new policies. Hoyer expects stopgap measure will come to House floor “earlier rather than later” next week.
Roll Call

Clean Energy Package Headed for Vote
House Democrats unveiled a wide-ranging clean energy package this past week that the chamber will vote on the week of Sept. 21.

The Clean Economy and Jobs Innovation Act (H.R. 4447), a nearly 900-page package, combines several bills that aim to boost green infrastructure and energy efficiency in buildings, and invest in renewable technologies, energy sources, and workforce training.

The measure includes provisions to improve the electricity grid and broaden investments and access to electric vehicles. A section on environmental justice includes several grant programs for underserved communities.

The legislation is a “down payment in our fight against climate change,” said Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., (D-NJ). The provisions will “help consumers and communities save money on their energy bills at a time they need it most, all while making the investments necessary to help put people back to work,” Pallone said in a statement.

Democrats plan to hold a floor vote on the legislation next week.
More from The Hill

The House is in session the week of Sept. 21, 2020
The Senate is in session the week of Sept. 21, 2020.

Highlighted House Committee Hearings
Sept. 21
House Committee on Rules
House Committee on Rules Meeting to formulate a rule on H.R. ____-Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act; H.R. 4447-Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019 [Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act]; H.R. 6210-Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act; H.R. 6270-Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act of 2020
Sept. 22
House Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Hearing: "Trump Administration Broken Promises on Renewable Energy"
Sept. 23
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Health Hearing: "Health Care Lifeline: The Affordable Care Act and the COVID-19 Pandemic" (Virtual Hearing)
Sept. 25
House Committee on Ways and Means
Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures Hearing: Restaurants in America During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Highlighted Senate Committee Hearings
Sept 23
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
Full Committee Hearing: "Modernizing the Endangered Species Act: Legislative Hearing on the Endangered Species Act Amendments of 2020."

Senate Budget Committee
Full Committee Hearing: "Hearing on CBO’s Updated Budget Outlook."



Not to be missed

National Biodiesel Board Lauds EPA Waiver Denial
Ethanol and Biodiesel groups are hailing this week’s decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to deny most of the GAP small refiner waiver requests by oil companies from the Renewable Fuel Standard. National Biodiesel Board’s Paul Winters says having President Donald Trump direct the agency to deny those is helpful and much appreciated.

He says the large number of waiver petitions have caused a lot of demand destruction to America’s biodiesel producers.
Listen to an interview with Paul Winters on WNAX.

Airlines Seek Additional Help to Avoid Job Losses
U.S. airline CEOs met with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Thursday, making a last-minute attempt to convince officials to approve more coronavirus aid as mass job cuts are set to hit the industry next month.

After the meeting, Meadows said the White House is open to a stand-alone package for the sector, reiterating comments from last month. President Donald Trump late last month said the White House was weighing executive action to support the industry, but provided few details.

Airlines received $25 billion in federal aid in the March CARES Act that prohibits them from cutting jobs through Sept. 30. With that date less than two weeks away, executives urged the White House to reach a deal on a new national bailout package as more than 30,000 sector jobs are at risk starting next month.
Read more from CNBC

Vaccine Leaders Make Trial Plans Public
The companies leading Covid-19 vaccine efforts disclosed detailed information about their pivotal late-stage clinical trials, and how they plan to gauge their shots’ safety and efficacy. The moves by first Moderna, and then later from Pfizer and partner BioNTech, follow mounting fears that the effort to make a vaccine is becoming politicized, and that an inoculation could be rushed to market before it’s proven safe and effective. AstraZeneca said it would post its plans as well.
From MSN

Senators Want Mobile Options for TSA PreCheck
The Transportation Security Administration would have to give travelers the option to enroll in TSA PreCheck through a secure mobile platform under a bill introduced in the Senate Tuesday.

Bill sponsors Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) want to compel TSA to follow intent of a 2018 law—The 2018 TSA Modernization Act was supposed to expand TSA PreCheck access. However, recent TSA PreCheck contracts omitted mobile options, but under this legislation, TSA would be required to work with the FBI on secure mobile enrollment option. The sponsors would like the measure attached to a stop-gap funding bill.
“This corrective legislation will get the TSA back on track to provide secure, user-friendly mobile enrollment options for rural Americans. It will also create opportunities for public and private entities to join forces in validating identity through mobile biometric capture,” said Blackburn.
A mobile option would make it easier for people to enroll at home during the coronavirus pandemic, when many TSA PreCheck operations are closed
TSA PreCheck providers include IDEMIA, Alclear LLC, and Telos Identity Management Solutions LLC.
Read more
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