Capitol Corner June 2020

The U.S. House of Representatives is readying an infrastructure bill with plans to consider it on the House floor in late June or early July. New House rules on remote work require committees to hold a virtual hearing before they can hold a virtual markup, and a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee held a hearing on Friday, May 28 that met the requirement.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced the House legislative priorities through July 31 as part of the June and July House floor schedule adjustments. In addition to the surface transportation bill reauthorization plus infrastructure package, the list also included the FY2021 defense authorization bill; reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA); FY2021 appropriations bills; and legislation to strengthen and expand the Affordable Care Act. The House doesn’t have any floor votes scheduled until June 30 but committees will work throughout the month, playing catch-up on the usual pieces of must-pass legislation, such as appropriations. If the House is able to complete its work on these items by the end of July, no changes are expected to be made to the August District Work Period.

The delayed appropriations schedule is another sign it will be difficult to get any spending measures signed into law before the September 30 deadline, requiring a Continuing Resolution, which is likely to last until after the elections.

On Friday, May 28 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Senate would take a “careful look at a fourth and final [coronavirus relief] bill,” but he said it will be “narrowly crafted” (unlike the House’s recent $3 trillion relief bill) and a decision to go forward on a bill will be made at the end of June.

Local governments continue to press for direct assistance for those with populations under the 500,000 threshold population set by the CARES Act, flexibility to allow all funds (past and future) to be used for revenue replacement and allowing public sector the same payroll tax credits given to private sector as a means of offsetting the costs of the federally-mandated leave policies for COVID-19.