9/07 Weekly Legislative Update


The Senate is returning on Tuesday. They will likely consider the confirmation of five judges. They may also work toward short term funding of the federal government to avoid a partial shutdown at the end of September. Although little bipartisan progress has been made on a fourth coronavirus relief bill, they may bring a package to the floor for a procedural vote with or without bipartisan agreement.Committees will hold hearings on the role of vaccines in protecting public health, the status of Federal Reserve emergency lending programs, and management of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear populations. Click on each topic to learn more and to watch the hearings live.

The House is still in recess and is expected to return on Monday, September 14. They may return earlier if an agreement is reached on a coronavirus relief bill. 
Committees will hold hearings on election security during the coronavirus pandemicfinancial aid to states and territories during the pandemic, and the U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship. Click on each topic to learn more and to watch the hearings live. (Revell, Eric. “Senate Returns for Judicial Confirmations, House Continues Recess as Gov’t Funding Deadline Looms.” Causes.com. 06 September 2020: https://www.causes.com/articles/46081-senate-returns-judicial-confirmations-house-continues-recess-countdown-gov-t-funding-deadline-looms.)

For a review and timeline of coronavirus relief legislation and negotiations for another bill see “What’s the Status of the ‘Phase 4’ Coronavirus Relief Bill? Speaker Pelosi Says “We’re Not Budging,” https://www.causes.com/articles/45588-what-is-status-phase-4-coronavirus-relief-bill.

After National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe eliminated in-person briefings, Democratic lawmakers are considering measures, including inserting language in a spending bill or other legislation to force their reinstatement, issuing subpoenas, and withholding funding from ODNI (Office of the Director of National Intelligence). (Marcos, Cristina. “Democrats explore new ways to resurrect election security briefings.” The Hill. 04 September 2020: https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/515068-democrats-explore-new-ways-to-resurrect-election-security-briefings.)

To find and contact your Members of Congress: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

In Other News

The Census and the Courts: “U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., issued a temporary restraining order late Saturday against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department halting a plan that would wind down by the end of September the government’s ongoing process of counting the population. The Commerce Department, which oversees the census process, is ordered to freeze its fast-track schedule until a court hearing takes place on Sept. 17. The concerns raised relate to potential undercounts of the population because of an abbreviated census schedule. The census, which takes place every 10 years, results in federal decisions about congressional district representation known as apportionment as well as the allocation of $1.5 trillion in federal funds to state and local governments. Koh’s temporary restraining order was requested by a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups that had sued the Census Bureau, demanding it restore its previous plan for finishing the census at the end of October.” (The Associated Press)

“President Trump, along with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Rep. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who are both in competitive Senate races, have all pointed in recent days to the widely debunked theory that COVID-19 deaths in the United States total just 10,000,,,” instead of the nearly 200,000 recorded by health officials. The president retweeted the theory from a QAnon follower; the false information was taken down by Twitter and later a similar post by Marshall was removed by Facebook. (Sullivan, Peter. “GOP uses debunked theory to downplay COVID-19 death toll.” The Hill. 06 September 2020: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/515227-gop-uses-debunked-theory-to-downplay-covid-19-death-toll?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=32971.)

Trump issued an order on September 3 to withhold federal funding from certain democratic cites. He directed Attorney General Bill Barr and the Office of Budget Management to identify cities run by democratic mayors and federal funds that can be withheld. Attorney Barr is to report back in 14 days while the Office of Budget management has thirty. The order was immediately challenged as unlawful. (Reals, Tucker. “Trump Orders Efforts to Cut Federal Funding to “Anarchist” U.S. Cities.” CBS News. 03 September 2020: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-threatens-cut-federal-funding-lawless-cities-office-budget-management/.)

The Trump administration ordered all federal agencies to stop racial sensitivity trainings. The memo read in part, that agencies “should begin to identify all available avenues within the law to cancel any such contracts and/or to divert Federal dollars away from these un-American propaganda training sessions.” (Schwartz, Matthew. “Trump Tells Agencies To End Trainings On ‘White Privilege’ And ‘Critical Race Theory’.” NPR. 05 September 2020: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/05/910053496/trump-tells-agencies-to-end-trainings-on-white-privilege-and-critical-race-theor.)

“Mail-in voting does not cause fraud, but judges are buying the GOP’s argument that it does.” The Conversation. 21 August 2020: https://cutt.ly/XfjStcZ


Indiana Voter Registration Deadline Fast Approaching 
Eagle 99.3 FM WSCH – The voter registration deadline is approaching in Indiana. The last day to register for the November 3 General Election is Monday, October 5. Hoosiers …

Indiana has had more than 3,000 coronavirus deaths, and the country has had nearly 190,000. The state health commissioner says claims that it’s a lot less are “absolutely incorrect.”  (WIBC)

“The Indiana State Board of Education approved a method to maintain funding for schools reopening virtually this fall after warnings of possible cuts from lawmakers last month.” (Smith, Casey and Megan Smedley. “ Indiana moves student count to delay school funding question.” WNDU. 02 September 2020: https://www.wndu.com/2020/09/02/indiana-moves-student-count-to-delay-school-funding-question/.)

Indiana is urging the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to apply the brakes to the challenge to the state’s restrictions on absentee balloting, arguing in part that the plaintiffs are seeking to overturn decades-old election laws without allowing time for proper consideration of the merits. (IBJ)

One in five small businesses in Indiana will have to permanently close by November without another round of federal loans, according to a small business advocacy group. The organization is urging Congress to pass additional Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funding.  (WFIU)

Here’s what we know about when Hoosiers could get the extra $300 in jobless benefits  The Indianapolis Star.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is updating its system to accommodate and disburse the benefit. To be eligible for the $300 boost, …

HIP Workforce Bridge Proposal IN.gov The state of Indiana is proposing HIP Workforce Bridge to help Hoosiers maintain continuous health coverage while transitioning from HIP to coverage,

An investigation by the Indiana State Board of Accounts into alleged fraud by two shuttered virtual charter schools found weaknesses in state code that make it difficult to ensure accurate student enrollment counts.  (Indiana Public Media)

Governor signs Clean Energy Week Proclamation Indiana Environmental Reporter. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a proclamation recognizing the week of Sep. 21 through 25 as Clean Energy Week in the state. The proclamation …

To find and contact your Indiana legislators: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/