The House and Senate are both in recess this week. The Senate is still scheduled to remain in recess until Monday, April 20, while the House does not yet have a fixed return date. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) sent a floor schedule update today indicating that "Members are advised that absent an emergency, the House is not expected to meet prior to Monday, May 4, 2020." Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) also recently said that the Senate is "unlikely" to stick to its plans for a late-April return.
House and Senate Republican leaders remain united in trying to pass a $251 billion increase for the recently enacted Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which loans and then grants federal funds to small businesses for two months of payroll, rent and utility expenses and is expected to run out of funding by April 17, according to National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow. GOP leaders want a "clean" PPP funding increase, while House and Senate Democratic leadership argue that hospitals and state and local governments also need an additional $250 billion in federal relief to cope with the pandemic. Bipartisan talks between the House, Senate and Trump Administration are continuing this week on what may be included in an interim emergency coronavirus relief package.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) has assigned appropriations subcommittee leaders top-line allocations for their FY 2021 appropriations bills and they are remotely drafting legislation to fund the government past September 30, 2020 even as the coronavirus complicates their work. The appropriators held hearings with most, but not all, major Trump Administration officials on the President's FY 2021 budget request in February and March. The full committee announced plans in late February to hold markups on all twelve FY 2021 bills beginning April 21 and concluding on May 19. Any additional COVID-19 emergency stimulus legislation (or lack thereof) may have an impact on how the FY 2021 appropriations bills are written.
NATaT has created a Coronavirus Guidance webpage to store NATaT letters, memos and briefs on the outbreak, as well as critical information and guidance released by Congress and the Administration.