The official ACTS newsletter that reports on issues of importance to members, including news about membership, advocacy updates and grant opportunities.
Ahead of the July 4th recess, Congress outlined a bold agenda to advance a number of timely legislative priorities before adjourning for the protracted summer recess in August (the ceremonial start of campaign season). In this regard, the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees presented a schedule to mark up the pending Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations bills. The House intends to mark up all spending bills and even move to floor consideration of some measures. The Senate presented a plan to markup ten of twelve annual spending measures, holding back the Department of Homeland Security bill and the bill to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs due to the fact that they touch on some politically divisive policy issues. While it is unclear if Congress can keep this timeline, the work on the spending bills that is done now will ultimately set the table for final appropriations measures at the end of the year.
Congress is also continuing to work on negotiating a fifth COVID-19 response package. The House has outlined its proposal through the HEROES Act, which is a comprehensive set of emergency supplemental appropriations, health policy changes, and further economic stimulus. The Senate has indicated a preference for a narrower package, but a specific proposal has yet to materialize.
At this time, Congress is also working to negotiate a package of criminal justice reforms. The House and Senate (as well as Democratic and Republican leaders) currently have differing priorities, and the process of working out a sense of consensus items continue to move forward. How Congress will resolve this growing litany of pressing items with limited legislative days remains to be seen, but there remains a bipartisan will to make meaningful progress.