Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of March 16, 2020  
Congressional Outlook

The House is in recess while the Senate is in session this week. On Monday, the Senate passed a 77-day extension of U.S. surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which expired on March 15, as part of a deal that will also allow for future votes on broader surveillance reforms. The House will need to take action on the measure this week, likely under Unanimous Consent, which does not require Members of Congress to be physically present.
The Senate will then vote, likely Tuesday or Wednesday, on the House-passed Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which includes guaranteed free coronavirus testing; paid emergency leave for certain employers, including all local governments; enhanced Unemployment Insurance; strengthened food security initiatives; and increased federal Medicaid funding to states. Before the Senate will ultimately vote on the bill, the House is planning on approving a package of technical corrections to the legislation regarding the Medicaid reimbursement and small business tax credit sections-the House is aiming to approve these changes using a Unanimous Consent agreement.
Congressional leaders are also working on a third emergency response package to the coronavirus outbreak, which will follow more of a "regular order" path, offering committees more input, even with the House in recess. Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke with the chairs of several committees to discuss additional steps to provide further financial assistance, assist small businesses and better support the health care system. McConnell has indicated a goal to have the third package wrapped up before the scheduled two-week Easter recess beginning April 3, however, Congressional leaders will likely want this third package approved by the House and Senate well before that date. As early as Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will propose at least $750 billion for a third response package, including more money for hospitals, expanded unemployment insurance, more funds for small business, help with child care, and food assistance for seniors, among other issues. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also recently stated that "the House will begin work on a third emergency response package to protect the health, economic security and well-being of the American people."
For additional in-depth coverage of the federal response, resources and funding regarding the coronavirus outbreak, TFG's Coronavirus Update, published earlier today, is available here.
Voters in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois head to the polls on Tuesday to participate in their respective 2020 Democratic presidential primary, allocating a total of 441 pledged delegates between the two major candidates remaining in the race: former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Week in Review