Weekly Legislative Update
 Week of May 11, 2020  
Congressional Outlook

The Senate is in session this week, while the House is still in recess this week, with pro forma sessions currently scheduled on Tuesday and Friday. The House may return to Washington as early as Friday, May 15 depending on whether House Democratic leadership is able to finalize its "CARES 2" COVID-19 relief legislation by Tuesday afternoon. If the House returns on Friday, the chamber may also consider a rules package to let members cast proxy votes for absent colleagues on the House floor and allow virtual hearings and markups as long as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The Senate will vote on the nominations of Brian Montgomery to be Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Troy Edgar to be the Department of Homeland Security's Chief Financial Officer. The Senate will vote on the House-passed USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020 (H.R. 6172), which overhauls and reauthorizes certain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorities, which lapsed on March 15, 2020, through December 1, 2023. There will also be several Senate committee hearings this week, including a Senate HELP Committee hearing Tuesday morning entitled "COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School," with Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Robert Redfield, HHS' Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, and FDA Commissioner Stephan Hahn as witnesses. There will also be a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing Thursday morning entitled "Protecting Scientific Integrity in the COVID-19 Response," featuring Rick Bright, the former Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) who recently filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
House Democratic leadership this week will very likely release, as early as Monday evening, its "CARES 2" legislation, a multitrillion-dollar package designed to buttress the economy against the devastating pandemic, which is expected to adhere largely to the contours of the first CARES Act, enacted on March 27. The legislation is expected  to include at least eight major provisions: approximately $1 trillion in flexible funding to states, counties, and all other municipalities; $100 billion in rent and mortgage assistance; individual cash payments, likely totaling $2,000/month for those making less than $120,000 annually, for the duration of the pandemic; an extension of funding for unemployment insurance benefits and the Paycheck Protection Program; broadband infrastructure funding; testing, tracing, and treatment funding; $25 billion in direct aid to the U.S. Postal Service; and additional Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding.
However, even if the House passes the "CARES 2" package by the end of this week, Senate Republicans and the Trump Administration have indicated that they prefer to wait at least several more weeks before passing additional COVID-19 relief legislation in order to see how the impacts of the four COVID-19 relief laws enacted over the past two months.  
On Tuesday, voters in Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District and California's 25th Congressional District head to the polls to vote in special House elections to select the successors for former Reps. Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Katie Hill (D-CA), who resigned from Congress in September and November 2019, respectively. The Republican candidate in WI-7, state senator Tom Tiffany, is expected to defeat Democrat Tricia Zunker while the race in CA-25 between Republican real estate investor and former Navy fighter pilot Mike Garcia and Democratic state assemblywoman Christy Smith is considered a tossup. Nebraska is also holding its congressional and presidential Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday.
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. 
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