The Senate has left for their Memorial Day district work period. When the upper chamber returns on June 1, it’s likely to focus on clearing pending presidential nominations as House Democrats and Senate Republicans remain far apart on the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation.
While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has emphasized the need for more time to analyze implementation of the CARES Act, some GOP Senators — including Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) — have begun to express a sense of urgency on addressing various COVID-19 related issues. Despite this intraparty pressure, it remains to be seen whether Leader McConnell will begin to mobilize on the next round of relief efforts when the Senate returns in June.
The bipartisan PPP proposal — which was hashed out by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) — would give businesses 16 weeks instead of eight weeks to spend the loans while still qualifying for forgiveness, according to a copy of the proposal obtained by Zachary Warmbrodt. It would also allow businesses to use loans to purchase personal protective equipment for employees and to pay for other “adaptive investments” needed to reopen safely. The story.
House lawmakers have left Washington following passage of the HEROES Act and a resolution to facilitate temporary remote voting and virtual hearings. The rule change will allow Members to submit votes for up to ten absent lawmakers by proxy and permit committees to convene hearings, markups, and depositions through a chief administrative officer-approved software platform. These changes will only last 45 days before needing renewal and will not extend beyond the 116th Congress. In the coming days and weeks ahead, House leadership expects to utilize these remote work flexibilities to convene virtual hearings, markups, and consideration of key 2020 legislative priorities including fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and reauthorization of expiring Surface Transportation and Water Resources Development programs. They are expected to return on May 27.