NATaT Weekly Legislative Report

NATaT Rural Grant Guide

Weekly Legislative Update
November 30, 2020
Congressional Outlook
The House and Senate are in session this week. The House will vote on 28 bills and resolutions under suspension of the rules, including the City and State Diplomacy Act (H.R. 3571), which establishes a new Office of Subnational Diplomacy within the State Department to support diplomacy between foreign governments and U.S. municipalities (with populations greater than 100,000) and state governments. The House will also vote on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019 (H.R. 3884), which removes marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances; provides for the expungement of federal marijuana convictions and arrests; and imposes a five percent tax on marijuana sales, utilizing the revenue to support people arrested for drug offenses, including people with previous convictions who want to participate in the marijuana industry.
On Tuesday, the 50-member House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee will vote to make recommendations on who will serve as the new Chairs of the House Agriculture, Appropriations, and Foreign Affairs Committees for the 117th Congress (i.e., 2021-22), in addition to the Chairmanship of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The full House Democratic Caucus will vote on the Steering Committee’s recommendations on Thursday.
The Senate will vote on the nominations of Christopher Waller to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term expiring on February 1, 2030; Taylor McNeel to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi; J. Philip Calabrese to be a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio; Kyle Hauptman to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board; and Kathryn Davis to be a Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. On Wednesday at noon, Senator-elect Mark Kelly (D-AZ) will be sworn-in to succeed outgoing Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), and will serve out the remaining two years of the late Sen. John McCain’s six-year term, through January 3, 2023. For the remainder of the 116th Congress (i.e., through January 3, 2021), the Senate will consist of a smaller 52-seat Republican majority and a larger 48-seat Democratic minority.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told colleagues in a letter Friday that legislation to fund the government past Friday, December 11, another coronavirus stimulus measure, and the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act will all receive votes “as soon as they are ready.” FY 2021 spending talks are the most immediate item, with next week’s deadline quickly approaching. House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairs Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), respectively, agreed last week to a set of top-line spending allocations for all 12 appropriations bills, allowing lawmakers to start negotiating the details of an omnibus package. However, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is opposed to the agreement, with concerns over the inclusion of emergency funds, which go beyond the bipartisan 2019 agreement on how much discretionary money Congress is allowed to spend in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Broad Republican opposition to the agreement on the allocations would make it difficult for lawmakers to agree to an omnibus by the Dec. 11 funding deadline, increasing the odds of Congressional passage of a stopgap measure through January or February 2021 or a government shutdown beginning Dec. 12.
This week, the District of Columbia and the following 15 states will certify their final local, state, congressional, and presidential election results from November 3: Arizona, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Montana, Iowa, Colorado, Wisconsin, Kansas, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Washington, Texas, Oregon, Connecticut, and Illinois.
Week in Review

NATaT Weekly Legislative Report