The House is in session this week, while the Senate is in recess, with a pro forma session scheduled on Thursday morning. On Wednesday, the House will begin allowing lawmakers to cast their votes from outside of the U.S. Capitol, through a proxy, for the first time in U.S. history. The House is scheduled to vote on eight bills under suspension of the rules, including
the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which relaxes several restrictions on companies that borrow money through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including providing businesses more time and flexibility to make qualifying expenditures for loan forgiveness (i.e., five years to repay the loans instead of two years), allows businesses with forgiven loans to defer payroll taxes, and extends the deadline to apply for a PPP loan to December 31, 2020 (from June 30, 2020).
For the remainder of the week, the House will vote on the Senate-passed USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020 (H.R. 6172), which renews elements of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) through December 1, 2023; the House will also vote on an amendment to the bill, which fell one vote short of the 60-vote threshold needed to pass in the Senate, which would require the FBI to obtain a warrant to search the web browsing histories of U.S. citizens. The House may also vote to override President Trump's anticipated veto, later this week, of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproval resolution (H.J. Res. 76), passed by the House in January and the Senate in March, which nullifies the Trump Administration's September 2019 student loan forgiveness rule, set to take effect on July 1, which critics argue will hinder student loan borrowers' ability to seek loan forgiveness from predatory institutions.
The outlook for additional COVID-19 relief legislation, including the $3 trillion House-passed Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (
(H.R. 6800), remains uncertain as House and Senate Republicans, and the Trump Administration, are generally in favor of waiting to see the results of relief legislation already enacted. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Tuesday that another relief bill is likely "in the next month or so." In the interim, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said today that
House Democrats will focus this summer on passing essential legislation, including the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), the surface transportation reauthorization bill, the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act, and the twelve FY2021 Appropriations bills.
Several House committee hearings and virtual forums/briefings/roundtables related to COVID-19 are taking place this week, including: a Financial Services Subcommittee virtual roundtable on "Examining the Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on U.S. Capital Markets"; a Ways and Means Committee hearing on "The Disproportionate Impact of COVID-19 on Communities of Color"; an Education and Labor Subcommittee hearing on "Examining the Federal Government's Actions to Protect Workers from COVID-19"; and a Small Business Subcommittee virtual forum to
"discuss priorities for the next phase of recovery and how to leverage the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network."
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.