House Democrats Release Updated Calendar for Pandemic-Plagued Session

May 29, 2020 by Dan McCue
The U.S. Capitol. Feb. 4, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Friday released the updated plan for conducting congressional business into the summer.

The plan and calendar emailed members states that the focus for June will be on having the House committees hold hearings and mark up and report legislation.

The goal will be to prepare must-pass legislation for consideration on the floor in late June and July, including a 2021 National Defense Authorization Act; an infrastructure package that includes reauthorization of expiring surface transportation provisions; a reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA); legislation to strengthen and expand the Affordable Care Act; and appropriation bills for Fiscal Year 2021.

“Committees will be provided time not only to prepare these and other bills for the floor but also first to adhere to the provisions of H. Res. 965, which requires each committee to practice with two hearings making use of remote tools before any remote markup can be held,” Hoyer said.

“This will ensure that the process of considering legislation in committee under new procedures can go smoothly and securely,” he added.

Hoyer noted that in preparation for meeting this schedule, the House Appropriations Committee held its first hearing with remote participation this week, “and it will continue to hold necessary COVID-19 oversight hearings before beginning subcommittee and full-committee markups at the end of June and beginning of July.”

The Armed Services Committee will hold its first practice hybrid-hearing next week and will continue to meet the additional requirements before starting to hold subcommittee and full-committee markups at the end of June.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is holding its first official virtual subcommittee hearing this week, and it will continue to satisfy the remaining requirements outlined in recently-adopted rules so the committee is able to hold a full-committee markup in the coming weeks.

Hoyer said the chief administrative officer and his staff will be implementing additional protocols to clean and disinfect committee rooms throughout June” in order to maintain the highest standards of safety while committees perform their work, which will require extra time between committee meetings.”

Later in June and throughout July, the House will meet to consider on the floor legislation reported by committees.

Hoyer said he anticipates members will put in longer days in late June and in July in order to accommodate votes on appropriation bills, NDAA, an infrastructure bill, ACA legislation, and WRDA.

“Votes may occur as early as 10:00 a.m. on the first day of the week, and votes may last into the evening on the last day of the week,” he said, noting that “safety measures for members voting in person in the House chamber will also lead to longer and later votes.

“I am hopeful, though, that we can complete work on critical legislative items in a timely fashion while continuing to do our part to respond to the pandemic’s health and economic impacts,” Hoyer said. “If the House is able to complete its work on these items by the end of July, no changes will be made to the August district work period, barring, of course, any additional measures that need to be taken to address the COVID19 pandemic.”

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