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What's Ahead in Washington


Cares Act 2
The roll out of the Senate Republicans’ plan for Cares Act 2 is the big news of the week. Original plans called for the bill to be fully unveiled July 23, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell instead gave a brief outline on Thursday.
 
“The Senate majority has assembled a framework for CARES 2. The administration has requested additional time to review the fine details, but we will be laying down this proposal early next week. We have an agreement in principle on the shape of this package. It is the framework that will enable Congress to make law and deliver more relief to the American people that is tailored precisely to this phase of the crisis”
 
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) a member of the GOP leadership, said yesterday that he is hearing Monday might be the day. After a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, he added, “What the leader has decided he wants to do is to have a handful of bills now rather than just one bill.”
 
Passage also likely won’t happen quickly. Leader McConnell tells Politico he doesn’t expect Congress to pass the next stimulus bill within two weeks, as the White House would want.


Cares 2-What’s likely to be in it
A Senate GOP stimulus plan will include legal protections for businesses and continue the Paycheck Protection Program, McConnell says. The “sequel” to the Paycheck Protection Program would give the hardest hit small businesses an opportunity to receive a second loan if they continue to pay their workers. The package will also include a temporary supplement to unemployment insurance. From Fox Business
 
The Republican stimulus proposal will likely include $105 billion to ensure “educators have the resources they need to safely reopen.” That money would consist of $70 billion for K-12 schools (with half of that reserved for schools that reopen completely in the fall) and $30 billion for higher education (regardless of reopening status) plus another $5 billion for governors to allocate at their own discretion. More on the education proposal from Forbes.


Carper Urges Virus Aid Include Utility Shut-Off Bans
Any future coronavirus stimulus funding to states and local governments should be tied to continued gas, water, and sewer service to households hard hit by the economic downturn, Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) said.
 
Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urged his colleagues “to confer upon state and local governments and utilities the responsibility of ensuring that households remain connected, or are reconnected, to utility service during the Covid-19 crisis ”as a condition of receiving federal funding.”
From Bloomberg reports

 
Funding Bills Up Next
Next week, members plan to vote on a seven-bill package including Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, and Transportation-HUD funding. The package includes measures that would cut off the Pentagon’s financial flexibility due to the Trump administration’s use of defense funds for the border wall; block Trump administration restrictions on asylum; make some police grants contingent on policy changes including chokehold bans; and create a commission to review federal displays that might be “inconsistent” with the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, among others. Progressive lawmakers have called on leaders to pull out the Homeland Security measure, which has been the most controversial funding bill in recent years.
From Bloomberg reports
 

The House is in session the week of July 27, 2020
The Senate is in session the week of July 27, 2020.



Highlighted House Committee Hearings
July 28
House Committee on Energy and Commerce 
Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change Hearing:
"There's Something in the Water: Reforming Our Nation's Drinking Water Standards" (Virtual Hearing)
 
July 29
House Committee on Small Business 
Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship Hearing:
"Kick Starting Entrepreneurship and Main Street Economic Recovery"
 
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
Subcommittee on Health Hearing:
"Improving Access to Care: Legislation to Reauthorize Key Public Health Programs" (Virtual Hearing)
 

Highlighted Senate Committee Hearings
July 28
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee 
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:
Full Committee Hearing to Examine Development and Deployment of Large-Scale Carbon Dioxide Management Technologies
 
July 29
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee
Full Committee Hearing
“VA Telehealth During and Beyond COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities in Rural America”

 


 

 

Not to be missed


Republicans Seek Clean Energy Virus Aid Package
In a letter, seven Senate Republicans Thursday urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to add a host of clean energy incentives including wind, solar, and nuclear power to the next Covid-19 economic recovery bill. The letter obtained by Bloomberg, is intended to show GOP support for the ailing clean energy sector. It was signed by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marth McSally (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AL).
 
The renewable energy sector—struggling amid the pandemic—could use additional support to return hundreds of thousands of workers to clean energy projects. There is little hope of getting the added incentives in the bill Majority Leader McConnell plans to unveil next week, but clean energy advocates see a window of opportunity in negotiations that will be needed to reconcile an already-passed House bill with any measure the Senate passes.
From Bloomberg reports
 

House Passes First Spending Package for Next Fiscal Year
The U.S. House on Friday passed a spending package for fiscal year 2021 that includes appropriations for Agriculture-FDA, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA and State-Foreign Operations. Vote was 224-189.
From Bloomberg Reports


Great American Outdoors Act passes 
The House Wednesday overwhelmingly passed bipartisan conservation legislation that many in Congress and the White House hope will bolster an ailing economy because of the shovel-ready outdoor and infrastructure projects it will finance. It passed 310-107. The Great American Outdoors Act would provide full, mandatory funding at $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, meaning the program would no longer be subject to the annual appropriations process. From CNN
 

Small Colleges Seek Federal Help
Well-funded private colleges and top state universities, defying President Trump’s urging to reopen, plan to hold classes mostly or entirely online in the fall. For many small schools that make up the majority of private colleges in the U.S., limited resources are forcing tougher choices. Many colleges say it’s critical for Congress to provide more aid to cover the new costs of operating campuses, including safety measures such as coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment.

Legislation introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would send $132 billion to colleges to provide direct aid to students and to help campuses cover the costs of reopening. More here.


Senate Seeks Plan to Pay College Athletes
Lawmakers took up the contentious issue of compensation for competitors in the big-money world of collegiate athletics, finding common ground on the need for change while differing over the specifics. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said at the outset of the hearing, entitled “Protecting the Integrity of College Athletics,” that the goal should be ensuring fair treatment for athletes responsible for generating millions of dollars for their schools while protecting the amateur nature of college sports.
 
He said the need to deal with the issue on a national level is made more urgent by the fact that three states have already passed laws allowing athletes to be compensated for use of their names, likeness and images. He said that poses the threat of bidding wars that would create a “wild West” environment that could harm college sports.

“I have come to accept that basic rights need to be legislated,” added Graham, who said he hopes to come up with a bipartisan proposal by Sept. 15. “I want to make sure it remains amateur.” From the Hartford Courant


First Carbon Limits for Airplanes in U.S. Proposed by EPA
The EPA proposed a new rule today that would set emissions standards for certain types of airplanes under the Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency was legally required to set those standards after it found in 2016 that emissions from certain aircraft elevated concentrations of the greenhouse gases that are the primary cause of climate change. 
From EPA.Gov

PREPA Says it is Ready for a Hurricane
While the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority assured a congressional committee Thursday it is prepared for the next hurricane, the utility hasn't fully rebuilt its hurricane- and earthquake-damaged grid, it has large debts and an underfunded pension system.

Congressional lawmakers expressed bipartisan concern Thursday about the continuing fragility of the utility’s electrical grid caused, in part, by earthquakes earlier this year, and delays in reconstruction.

They also raised questions about the utility’s slow conversion to renewable energy.
PREPA is set to receive $1.9 billion in federal funding to help repair the damage caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma but has not yet signed an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the permanent repair and reconstruction work.
From The Bond Buyer
 

KBS Best

Washington, D.C. and the nation were saddened last week by the death of Congressman John Lewis. Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. He served in Congress from 1986 until his death.

KBS partner and former Congressman Kenny Hulshof worked alongside Congressman Lewis as the original co-sponsors of H.R. 923, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. The bill passed the U.S. House overwhelmingly and was signed into law in 2008.

At the time of its passage, Congressman Lewis said, "It took members from both sides of the aisle to see the benefit of this legislation and to ensure that it passed. Congressman Hulshof used his invaluable experience as a prosecutor of tough murder cases in Missouri to make this bill real to members of Congress. He has seen the damage that is done to families who have suffered crime that is never brought to trial. The pain in their faces fueled his ambition to see this legislation through and win the support within the Republican conference that led to final passage."

"Every person who serves in Congress has a personal story but John Lewis’s life was an inspiration to all. He stood tall during the seminal battle for civil rights In the 1960’s and suffered willingly for that worthy cause.  I was privileged to serve with him on the Ways and Means Committee my entire tenure and I considered him a friend. While our political views differed, we set aside our personal differences to work together on the Emmett Till bill. John Lewis is leaving behind a legacy for generations to follow. I will miss my friend." —Kenny Hulshof, July 2020. 
 
Congressman Lewis will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda July 27-28. And invitation-only ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday. The public can pay respects Monday and Tuesday and due to Covid-19 precautions, Lewis will lie in state at the top of the East Front Steps of the U.S. Capitol for the public viewing, and the public will file past on the East Plaza. The Lewis family requests that members of the public do not travel to Washington, D.C. from across the country to pay their respects due to the pandemic.

 
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