Capitol Corner February 2020

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has developed a short list of priorities that focuses on a group of energy measures that are being put together in committee, a highway reauthorization bill, and a package of health care measures that have to be done before May 22. These measures, which were prioritized during meetings with GOP chairmen, are said to be bipartisan and therefore have a good chance of being passed over the next few months. They will require 60 votes to advance in the Senate, so Republicans will need some Democratic support.

The White House backs McConnell’s plan and is working with the Senate GOP on details. An immediate focus is how to finance the $287 billion, five-year surface transportation reauthorization bill (S. 2302). House Democrats have proposed a $760 billion infrastructure blueprint called Moving Forward, found here, that would cover highways, rail, wastewater, and broadband over five years, but also without a plan to pay for it.

The House and Senate have also reached an agreement on a five-year reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA). The agreement, entitled the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020, is now on a fast track for action by Congress and is expected to be signed into law by the President.

The FY20 Appropriations Act has been signed into law and federal agencies are busy announcing the next rounds of competitions for federal grants.

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