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Capitol Hill Update: July 27, 2020

07/27/2020

Schedule:

The House and Senate are in session this week.

House:

The House returns today at 10:00 am to begin legislative business. The only vote series for the day is expected to begin between 11:00 am and 11:30 am. There are four bills coming to the floor this week under the suspension of the rules. Those bills are the Water Resources Development Act, H.R. 7575; Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, S. 2163; National Museum of the American Latino Act, H.R. 2420; and Sami’s Law, H.R. 4686. The House will not be in session on Tuesday.

The House Rules Committee will meet on Tuesday at 11:00 am to consider the rule and amendments to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, H.R. 7617, which is the vehicle for seven of the remaining appropriations bills. Four of the appropriations bills were passed last week by the House via H.R. 7608. A total of 524 amendments have been filed to H.R. 7617. The only appropriations bill that the House has left to process is the Legislative Branch.

The committee schedule for the week can be found here.

Senate:

The Senate will return today at 3:00 pm to resume consideration of the nomination of William Scott Hardy to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The Senate invoked cloture on Hardy’s nomination on Thursday. A roll call vote on Hardy’s confirmation is expected to begin around 5:30 pm. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on four other nominees before the Senate skipped town last week. Those nominees are David Cleveland Joseph to serve as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana; Dana T. Wade to serve as an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Marvin Kaplan to serve as a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring August 27, 2025; and Lauren McGarity McFerran to serve as a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring December 16, 2024.

We do expect the text of Senate Republicans’ next phase of COVID-19 legislation to be released early this week, probably today. Apparently, McConnell was struggling to find agreement in his conference on certain elements of the proposed legislation. There will undoubtedly be several Republicans who vote against the bill when it comes to the floor. Although McConnell wants to limit the fiscal impact to $1 trillion, several members of the Senate Republican Conference have already expressed concerns about more spending. Based on what we know, the bill will appropriate nearly $303 billion, include another round of direct payments, transition the current $600 per week unemployment insurance benefit to a lower amount (the amount hasn’t been finalized), additional changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, liability reform, and changes to the state and local money allocated under the CARES Act (including allowing states to use the money to replace revenue). There’s more, but we’re trying to keep it brief. Here’s the thing. McConnell will need 60 votes on the cloture motion to the motion to proceed. He’s unlikely to get that even if every Republican votes for the motion because Democrats will block it.

The committee schedule for the week can be found here.