COVID-19 Federal Update 6-3-20

June 3, 2020

Happening on the Hill

White House

Trump has no public events scheduled today

  • 9:00 am – In-House Pool Call Time
  • 1:15pm – Trump has lunch with the Secretary of State
  • 1:30 pm – Vice President Mike Pence holds video teleconference with governors on Covid-19 response
  • 2:00 pm – Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a briefing

2:00 pm –  Pandemic Response Accountability Committee holds a public forum on stakeholder perspectives on the federal response to Covid-19

Senate

  • 10:00 am – Senate meets; resumes consideration of James Anderson to be a deputy undersecretary of Defense
  • 10:00 am – Senate Judiciary Committee hears from former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a hearing on the Russia investigation
  • 2:30pm: Senate Budget Committee holds hearing on Russell Vought’s nomination to be director of the OMB
  • 2:30pm: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds hearing on the state of transportation and infrastructure during the coronavirus pandemic

House

  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee expects to release the text of its $494b highway bill today as pressure mounts on Senate Republicans to produce a bill
  • 10:00 am – House Judiciary Committee hears from Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Fair Fight Action Chairwoman Stacey Abrams on protecting the right to vote during the Covid-19 pandemic in virtual hearing
  • 1:00 pm – House Budget Committee hears from former Congressional Budget Office Directors Doug Elmendorf and Douglas Holtz-Eakin on the economic effects of Covid-19
  • 3:30pm –  House Homeland Security Committee holds virtual forum on national security nexus of U.S. Postal Service during pandemic

 

PPP – SBA Program

Senators could vote next week on legislation to loosen restrictions on small businesses receiving billions in federal aid due to Covid-19.

The House voted 417-1 yesterday to give small businesses financially strapped by the Covid-19 crisis more flexibility to spend forgivable loans for payrolls and expenses from the government’s popular Paycheck Protection Program, Erik Wasson and Mark Niquette report.

The Senate may seek changes to the measure (H.R. 7010). The bill’s sponsors say urgent action is needed because the eight-week period when proceeds must be spent for loans to be forgiven will begin expiring today for the first loan recipients after the Small Business Administration program opened April 3.

The House measure would give companies much more time to spend the money—within 24 weeks or until the end of the year, whichever comes first—and still qualify to have their PPP loans forgiven. Businesses would also have up to five years, instead of two years, to repay any money owed on a loan and could use a greater percentage of proceeds on rent and other approved non-payroll expenses.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill next week. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday the House and Senate should be able to quickly agree on changes.

But Senate Small Business Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a statement he tried to persuade House sponsors to revise language he said could create disincentives to take out the loans or to rehire workers.

Rubio contends the House language creates a problem for companies that use less than 60% of a loan on payroll. The current PPP program allows partial loan forgiveness if a company uses less than 75% of a loan for payroll, but the House bill appears to state that none of the loan would be forgiven if the 60% threshold isn’t met.

Rubio also says the new certification on inability to rehire employees is too broad and would give businesses less incentive to rehire.

Differences over these matters could lead the Senate to amend the bill and send it back for further House action

Tracking SBA Care Act Loans

If you’re looking for a real-time list of public companies who have received SBA Cares Act loans, AI Margaret rom Factsquared has been reading SEC 8-Ks as they’re filed.

https://factba.se/sba-loans

 

Healthcare

Foreign Drug Reliance Won’t Wane, FDA Says The coronavirus won’t be the last time that the U.S. grapples with a pandemic, so it should shore up its domestic drug manufacturing capacity now, an FDA official told lawmakers yesterday.

The U.S. is heavily reliant on drug manufacturing in India and China, making the supply chain vulnerable during global disease outbreaks. Drug companies could move more production back to the U.S. using advanced—albeit more expensive—manufacturing techniques that hasten production and reduce environmental impacts more than traditional production measures.

Congress must encourage companies to invest in the updated manufacturing processes in the U.S. before the next pandemic strikes, Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director for regulatory programs at the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told the Senate Finance Committee.

“Covid-19 won’t be the last time that we’re asked to respond to an emergency of this size,” Throckmorton said.

Reliance on foreign drug manufacturing is a sign the U.S. should be shoring up domestic manufacturing, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said.

The Senate hearing comes after the Food and Drug Administration announced it would halt its inspections of overseas drug manufacturing due to the pandemic. The agency said in mid-May it was still “postponing domestic and foreign routine surveillance inspections.” Read more from Jacquie Lee.

Lawyer Confirmed to Be Virus Spending Watchdog: The Senate confirmed White House lawyer Brian Miller to be the federal watchdog overseeing trillions of dollars in loans and grants being provided to boost the U.S. economy reeling from the global pandemic. As special inspector general for pandemic recovery, Miller will lead oversight of money going from the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve to airlines, national security companies and other companies seeking low-interest loans.  Miller, who was confirmed on a 51-40 vote, served as a White House lawyer and participated in Trump’s impeachment defense. He’s said he won’t be influenced by his former boss, who has demoted or removed several inspectors general whose work the president didn’t like. Read more from Laura Davison.

GOP Grills Whitmer in Hearing on State Responses: Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, took sharp questioning from Republicans yesterday during a House hearing on governors’ responses to the pandemic. Republicans blasted Whitmer, a first-term Democrat, saying she allowed elderly patients infected by the coronavirus to return to nursing homes.  “With all due respect I will not go toe to toe with you on every allegation you have alleged,” she responded when House Energy and Commerce Committee member David McKinley (R-W.Va.) pressed her on Michigan’s virus efforts. The virus “doesn’t stop at the state line and doesn’t stop at party line.” Read more from Alex Ebert.

Giroir Resignation Said to Hurt Testing Efforts: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), following the announcement that HHS Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir will be stepping down as the Trump administration’s “czar” for Covid-19 testing, said the White House still does not have a satisfactory testing strategy in place. “Now is not the time to dismantle federal leadership,” she said in a statement.

Concerns Raised Over Covid-19 Study Data: Two prestigious medical journals said they have significant concerns about a database that was used to look at how older drugs, including an antimalarial drug promoted by Trump, may work in the treatment of Covid-19.  The New England Journal of Medicine yesterday published an “expression of concern” about a study published by the journal on May 1 that looked at the use of heart drugs called ACE inhibitors in coronavirus patients. Later in the day, the Lancet, a nearly 200-year-old U.K. medical journal, issued its own warning about a May 22 study about treating Covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug.

Both studies relied on data from a firm called Surgisphere, which says that it aggregates information from medical records around the globe. Last week, more than 200 scientists signed a letter to the Lancet asking for greater transparency regarding the hospitals where patients’ medical records came from and the method of analysis, along with other issues. Read more from John Lauerman.

NIH Bringing Back Non-Covid-19 Research: The National Institutes of Health is in the early stage of physically bringing back staff who work on matters that are not related to Covid-19 research, NIH Office of AIDS Research Director Maureen Goodenow said yesterday at a meeting on the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. The NIH’s clinical centers and research labs will have limited in-person staffing. The infrastructure for HIV clinical trials has been used for the outbreak, Goodenow said. Read more from Shira Stein.

Hospitals, Health Providers Get $250 Million to Combat Virus: Hospitals and other health-care providers will use a $250 million grant from the CARES Act to provide workforce training, expand telemedicine offerings, and purchase protective gear and equipment to help fight Covid-19. HHS has now provided $350 million to health-care systems during the pandemic through the March-passed coronavirus relief package. The latest round of funding, announced yesterday, will also support efforts to boost the nation’s capacity and capability to respond to and treat highly infectious diseases. Read more from Tony Pugh.

CBP Separated Nearly 10 Times More Asylum-Seeking Families than Reported: Instead of seven, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection separated at least 60 asylum-seeking parents from their children at ports of entry in May and June of 2018, and possibly more but the data is still too unreliable to tell, a new government watchdog report finds. Some of the separated children were as young as 5 months old, Shaun Courtney reports.

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General faulted CBP Office of Field Operations for its poor record keeping which continues to plague the agency, according to the report.

“We continue to have concerns about DHS’ ability to accurately identify and address all family separations due to data reliability issues,” the report states. “As a result, OFO may have separated more families before June 2018 than those we could identify.”

Kentucky Abortion Restriction Blocked: Kentucky can’t enforce a state law that would require women to induce fetal demise before undergoing a dilation and evacuation—the most common kind of second trimester abortion—after the Sixth Circuit found the statute unconstitutional. The law unduly burdens an individual’s right to elect to have an abortion prior to viability, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said yesterday.   Several other states—including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi—have passed similar laws, and in every challenge brought to date, courts have enjoined the statutes on the same basis, the court said. Read more from Peter Hayes.

 

Transportation

House Democrats to Unveil Highway Bill The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee expects to release the text of its $494 billion highway bill today, a House Democratic aide, as pressure mounts from Senate Republicans to produce a bill.

The bill, which would authorize highway, railroad, and transit programs, would replace the surface transportation law set to expire at the end of September.

House Democrats released a blueprint for the legislation in January. That outline included $319 billion for highways, $55 billion for rail, and $105 billion for transit. The first year of the bill to be released today won’t include any policy changes to give state transportation departments time to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus, the House Democratic aide said. The bill would call for policy changes during the second year.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) criticized House Democrats yesterday at a press conference for failing to produce a bill so far. His committee approved its portion of the companion Senate legislation (S. 2302) last summer, though the other authorizing committees in the Senate have yet to weigh in with their portions of the legislation, Courtney Rozen reports.

TSA, CBP Deployed Agents at Protests: More than 600 personnel from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement were deployed to Washington D.C. Monday, along with Secret Service and Federal Protective Service agents, the Department of Homeland Security tweeted. CBP acting head Mark Morgan said in a statement officers would again deploy yesterday. Lawmakers like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized the move.

“Deploying these agents and resources into cities already suffering from over-militarization and law enforcement brutality is a mistake that imperils the lives of even more Black and Brown people,” the ACLU said in a statement.

House T&I Hearing on Front-Line Workers: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee announced a new hearing on June 9 entitled, “On the Front Lines: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Transportation Workers.”

Covid-19 Effects on Transportation Infrastructure: The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today will examine the effects of Covid-19 on critical infrastructure and transportation.

Federal mandates are needed to ensure bus drivers, flight attendants, transit workers and other transportation workers have protective gear because a patchwork of employer responses to the pandemic has put some workers at risk, a union leader plans to tell the panel today.

Inconsistent practices in the face of coronavirus across the U.S. transportation system have been inadequate and mandatory safety rules are needed, Larry Willis, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, said in written testimony prepared the Senate hearing, Ryan Beene reports.

U.S. Travel Industry Struggling to Recover: It will take years to regenerate the $1.1 trillion the travel industry produced last year, potentially leaving many airlines, hotels, rental car companies and restaurants in peril, the AP reports, citing economists and company leaders.

Wicker Bill Aimed at Bolstering Aviation Safety: Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) yesterday introduced a bill that would seek to improve aviation safety by codifying recommendations from a investigations related to the Boeing737 MAX crashes. The legislation would mandate adoption of Safety Management Systems for manufacturers, require the FAA to review its assumptions on pilot reaction time, and ensure a representative sample of pilots from around the world participate in flight testing, according to a statement.

Wicker’s committee will hold a hearing on June 17 on the FAA’s oversight of its certification processes. Administrator Steve Dickson will testify about issues including operation of the Boeing 737 MAX following international accidents in the past two years, Alan Levin reports.

GOP Asks Administration to Finalize Critical Mineral Rules: Congressional Republicans urged the Trump administration yesterday to quickly finalize rules that would streamline production of critical minerals in the U.S. Minerals such as graphite, gallium, tellurium, and cobalt are essential in electric car batteries and other technologies used in the renewable energy sector.  Interior spokesman Ben Goldey didn’t offer a timeline for when the final rules could come, but said the administration “continues to take actions to increase our domestic supply of critical minerals.” Kellie Lunney has more.

NTSB Wants ‘Black Boxes’ Installed on Helicopters: The National Transportation Safety Board sent a recommendation letter to six helicopter manufacturers — Airbus Helicopters, Bell Textron, Leonardo, MD Helicopters, Robinson Helicopter and Sikorsky Aircraft — asking that they voluntarily install crash-proof video, sound and data recorders.  “We are asking that currently available recording technology be put to use in a way that will improve aviation safety,” said Dana Shulze, NTSB director of Office of Aviation Safety. The FAA has declined to require the so-called black boxes for years, saying that it can’t justify the added cost of such equipment, Alan Levin reports.

Tribal Transportation Self-Governance: The Transportation Department yesterday published a final rule to establish the Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program, which will provide a flexible framework outlining how the federal government and Indian tribes will work together to enhance transportation infrastructure delivery in Indian country, according to a DOT statement.

“The Tribal Transportation Self-Governance Program will boost prospects for economic growth and enhance quality of life by strengthening transportation infrastructure and reducing administrative red tape for Tribes receiving funding from the Department,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in the statement.

Probe on National Security Risk of Vanadium Imports: The Commerce Department is starting a Section 232 investigation into whether vanadium imports threaten U.S. national security, Elizabeth Elkin reports.

Petitioners claim the U.S. industry is hurt by “unfairly traded low-priced imports, limited export markets due to value-added tax regimes in other vanadium producing countries, and the distortionary effect of Chinese and Russian industrial policies,” the department said in a statement. Vanadium is a metal used as a catalyst for chemicals across aerospace, defense, energy, and infrastructure sectors.

“Vanadium is utilized in our national defense and critical infrastructure, and is integral to certain aerospace applications,” said Secretary Wilbur Ross.

 

 

A Country of Unrest

Trump’s Show of Force Fizzles President Donald Trump faced a dwindling set of options to address nationwide unrest, after a backlash erupted over the government’s violent dispersal of peaceful protests outside the White House, plunging the president into more election-year turmoil.

For Trump and his conservative backers, his photo op late Monday in front of historic St. John’s Episcopal Church with Bible in hand was a show of strength — a symbolic move meant to reassure Americans that he would restore law and order after several nights of chaos in major U.S. cities over the death of George Floyd.

Instead, Trump’s display prompted a cascade of condemnation from religious leaders, Democrats and even some Republicans. Images of police using tear gas and flash-bang devices to clear protesters from Lafayette Square ahead of Trump’s walk to the church marred his presidency anew at a time when his public support was already slipping over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

No Republican governors publicly accepted Trump’s invitation to send the military to crush riots and looting; Texas’s Greg Abbott said at a news conference that “Texans can take care of Texans.”

And the show of force failed to deter demonstrations in the nation’s capital and other cities. Large crowds of protesters began marching on public streets in Washington last night, challenging both the city’s 7 p.m. curfew and Trump’s authority.

A Monmouth University poll released earlier this week showed 74% of Americans say the country is on the wrong track, an alarming response to a question pollsters consider important in judging a president’s re-election chances. Trump’s approval rating was at 42%, down from 46% in March. Read more from Jordan Fabian.

Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images

Police officers hold a perimeter in front of the White House on Tuesday.

Protest Update: At least 9,300 people have been arrested in connection with protests across the U.S. in the days following the death of George Floyd, according to an Associated Press count.

Law enforcement last night deployed a pepper spray-style chemical and pepper bullets against protesters at Lafayette Square, the Washington Post reported. Video showed a TV camera operator being sprayed at a fence erected at the edge of the park just north of the White House.

In New York, hundreds of demonstrators who had marched through Brooklyn and headed to the Manhattan Bridge were stopped by police who prohibited their entry into Manhattan. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), in responding to video of the bridge protests, said “this is dangerous,” and she’s “heading there now.” The standoff eventually diffused largely without incident.

Lawmakers Target Military Gear For Police: A Pentagon initiative that has transferred more than $7 billion in excess military equipment to U.S. police departments is in congressional cross-hairs as law enforcement officers in riot gear have used rubber bullets, flash-bang devices, and pepper spray to disperse nationwide protests.

Lawmakers from both parties are targeting the fiscal 2021 defense authorization measure which sets military policy, including provisions concerning what’s known as the 1033 program to transfer military equipment. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said yesterday that possible restrictions to transferring military equipment may come up as part of deliberations over the defense bill. Roxana Tiron has more.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, moved multiple active duty Army units into the National Capitol Region “as a prudent planning measure in response to ongoing support to civil authorities operations,” DOD spokesperson Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement. “The overall number of active duty troops recently moved from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum is approximately 1600 troops,” he said.

  • Police Say Pepper Balls Used on Monday: The U.S. Park Police acknowledged that its officers used smoke and irritating pepper agents to clear out protesters outside the White House on Monday before Trump walked to a historic church that was damaged by arson. The police agency denied in a statement yesterday it used “tear gas” to disperse the protesters, who it claimed—in contradiction to news coverage—had attacked its officers. Read more from Jordan Fabian.
  • Minnesota Files Civil Rights Charge in Floyd Death: The state of Minnesota filed a human rights complaint against the Minneapolis Police Department in Floyd’s death. Gov. Tim Walz (D) and the state’s Department of Human Rights announced the filing at a news conference yesterday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.
  • U.S. Vows to Protect Journalists: The U.S.’s top official in Australia said his country is committed to protecting journalists after a television crew from one of America’s top allies was assaulted by police while covering a peaceful street demonstration. Television footage on Monday in the U.S. showed a cameraman and reporter from Australia’s Channel 7 network being struck by police while live on air ahead of Trump’s walk to a church near the White House. Read more from Jason Scott.
  • D.C. Protests Shutter Federal Circuit: The Federal Circuit closed its offices early yesterday after receiving advice from law enforcement monitoring protests in Washington. It was the second day in a row that the court, located near the White House in downtown Washington, has changed its operations because of protests. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sits in the National Courts Building on Lafayette Square, the scene of protests over the last several days. Read more from Perry Cooper.

 

International

 

Philippines Walks Back Move to End U.S. Pact: The Philippines halted its move to end a 22-year old military agreement with the U.S, the Southeast Asian nation’s top diplomat said. “The abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement has been suspended” upon President Rodrigo Duterte’s instruction, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said on Twitter with a copy of the diplomatic note to the U.S. ambassador dated June 1. Andreo Calonzo and Cecilia Yap have more.

U.S., South Korea Reach Stopgap Deal: The U.S. and South Korea reached a deal to fund Korean labor at American military facilities through the end of this year, a partial step that leaves unresolved a thornier issue of a comprehensive cost-sharing agreement. Read more from Jon Herskovitz.

Labor Watchdog to Exit: Labor Department Inspector General Scott Dahl said he will retire, becoming the latest agency watchdog to leave the Trump administration. He announced he’s stepping down after several other federal watchdogs were pushed out or fired by Trump in recent weeks, although Dahl insisted he was not told or asked to resign. Read more from Ben Penn.

 

 

Campaign Trail

 

Iowa’s King Loses Primary: Rep. Steve King, a nine-term Iowa Republican who had been rebuked by party leaders and stripped of committee assignments over his inflammatory statements about race and immigration, was defeated in a primary last night, the Associated Press reported. Randy Feenstra, a state senator, took advantage of the intra-party dissatisfaction with King and endorsements by party leaders to take the GOP nomination to run for the seat in November’s election, Daniel Flatley reports.

Iowa was one of seven states holding congressional primaries yesterday amid a once-in-a-century pandemic and the civil unrest that have sharpened political divisions across the U.S. King’s race was the most prominent and the only one where a veteran of Congress was facing a serious fight to stay in office.

  • Businesswoman Theresa Greenfield won the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in Iowa, advancing to face Sen. Joni Ernst (R) in November, AP projects. Greenfield was backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and was the the best-funded Democrat in the race.
  • Teresa Leger Fernandez defeated former CIA operative Valerie Plame to win the seven-candidate Democratic primary for a House seat in New Mexico, AP reports.
  • Rep. Greg Gianforte won the Republican primary in the Montana governor’s race, AP reports. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) is term-limited and is seeking a U.S. Senate seat. Bullock won the Democratic primary last night for the Senate seat currently held by Steve Daines (R), AP projects. Tripp Baltz and Alex Ebert have more on the Montana governors’ race.

Cyber Officials Give Voting Update Amid Unrest: State and local election leaders and federal partners have not reported any widespread disinformation about yesterday’s primary day related to the ongoing civil unrest, senior Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency officials told reporters in a briefing yesterday afternoon, Shaun Courtney reports.

Agency officials noted that the virus will likely push many voters to vote by mail in the November election and said yesterday’s primary is a good preview of what to expect in the fall. Officials did not address Trump’s comments and tweets about the security of vote-by-mail—they said their job is to provide a security solution to states that do opt for expanded absentee and vote-by-mail.

Biden, Rescued by Black Voters, Now Has to Enthuse Them: Joe Biden’s political resurrection in the race for the Democratic nomination was due largely to overwhelming support from black voters. Yet racial tensions laid bare by nationwide protests have revealed a problem for Biden in the November election — he doesn’t excite younger black voters who want change, not just a sympathetic ear.

Biden’s African-American supporters have been urging him to offer concrete solutions to the trifecta of crises hitting black voters in 2020 — they are disproportionately harmed by the coronavirus, the recession and the police brutality that drew them into the streets. And they say not being Donald Trump isn’t enough.

The support of younger black voters is crucial to Biden as the pandemic may squelch older voters’ turnout in key cities like Detroit and Philadelphia and there are numerous states trending Democratic, like Georgia and Texas, where the young black vote could make a difference. Read more from Jennifer Epstein.

  • Democratic donors are pouring money into Biden’s campaign in the wake of the protests. “Donors are saying he’s not doing it, he’s not capable of doing it, so our only option is to dig deeper and make sure he doesn’t win a second term,” Mitchell Berger, a longtime Democratic fundraiser from Florida, said, referring to Trump. Read more from Bill Allison.

Trump Says ‘Forced’ to Re-locate GOP Convention: Trump said the Republican Party has been “forced to seek” a new city for its national convention, planned for Charlotte, North Carolina, in August, because of coronavirus restrictions put in place by the state’s governor. The president, in a series of tweets last night, did not say what other cities were being considered or if the party was definitely pulling out of Charlotte. Read more from John Harney and Ryan Teague Beckwith.

Trump Sued Over Social Media Order: Trump’s executive order targeting social media companies was challenged in court by a non-profit group that claims the edict violates free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Center for Democracy and Technology sued in Washington federal court yesterday, claiming the order is an unconstitutional retaliation against Twitter and that it seeks to discourage other companies and individuals from disagreeing with the government. Read more from Bob Van Voris.

  • Twitter defended its recent decision to label some of Trump’s tweets, but also said world leaders’ comments on the social media service will stay up, even if they break the company’s rules. In a reiteration of established policies, which Twitter calls its health principles, the company published a series of tweets yesterday explaining its rationale after it was heavily criticized by Trump and other conservative politicians. Their allegation was Twitter’s actions exhibited political bias, whereas the company stressed its top priority was to “decrease potential for likely harm.” Read more from Kurt Wagner and Vlad Savov.
  • Yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees at a companywide meeting he won’t change his mind about a decision to leave up posts shared by Trump last week that many workers felt violated the company’s policies against violent speech. Kurt Wagner and Sarah Frier have more.

 

 

Other Stories

Colleges Ask for Tax Credit: Colleges face a huge unfunded mandate to offer paid sick and family leave unless Congress makes them eligible for a tax credit to cover the cost of the benefit, higher education lobbying groups are warning lawmakers. Congress required employers to offer two weeks of paid sick leave and 10 weeks of partially paid leave in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. But public colleges weren’t eligible for a refundable tax credit. Read more from Andrew Kreighbaum.

Lawmakers Split on FCC’s 5G Timing: House Democrats are urging the Federal Communications Commission to delay a planned action aimed at fostering 5G networks, a day after GOP lawmakers applauded the move. The agency June 9 plans to consider a declaratory ruling and notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at fostering 5G deployments. The declaratory ruling would, among other things, clarify that environmental assessments aren’t required before existing wireless structures are modified, if the FCC and other parties have a deal on mitigating impacts on historic properties. Read more from Julia Weng.

Relief Funds Drive ‘Cornucopia’ of Fraud, Top IRS Official Says: Criminal investigators at the IRS are seeing a “cornucopia of fraud” as the pandemic drags on and trillions of dollars in aid flows out of the federal government, a top official said. Read more from Jacob Rund.

Trump Hotel Maid Says She Was Fired For Refusing to Work Sundays: Sonia Perez, 56, said she worked at Trump International Hotel from 2010 to 2015 without incident, with Sundays off so she could attend religious services at her non-denominational Christian church. But after the employees unionized in 2018, Perez says in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Las Vegas federal court, her shift was changed to include Sundays. Perez refused to come to work on Sundays “because of her sincerely held religious belief,” according to the lawsuit. Read more from Joe Schneider.

 

Yesterday in Congress

 

  1. 1. H.R.7074 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)To establish an Office of Equitable Transit-Oriented Development and Mobility to carry out an equitable transit-oriented development and mobility grant program, and for other purposes.Sponsor: Rep. Garcia, Jesus G. “Chuy” [D-IL-4] (Introduced 06/01/2020) Cosponsors: (7)Committees: House – Transportation and Infrastructure; Ways and MeansLatest Action: House – 06/02/2020 Referred to the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  1. S.3752— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to amend title VI of the Social Security Act to establish a Coronavirus Local Community Stabilization Fund.Sponsor: Sen. Menendez, Robert [D-NJ] (Introduced 05/18/2020) Cosponsors: (6)Committees: Senate – Banking, Housing, and Urban AffairsLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Hearings held. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  2. S.3862— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to increase the penalties applicable under the Federal Trade Commission Act during the COVID-19 emergency, and for other purposes.Sponsor: Sen. Gardner, Cory [R-CO] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (2)Committees: Senate – Commerce, Science, and TransportationLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  3. S.3863— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to direct the Architect of the Capitol to replace the bust of Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the United States Capitol with a bust of Thurgood Marshall to be obtained by the Joint Committee on the Library, and for other purposes.Sponsor: Sen. Cardin, Benjamin L. [D-MD] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (1)Committees: Senate – Rules and AdministrationLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  4. S.3864— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to eliminate the 190-day lifetime limit on inpatient psychiatric hospital services under the Medicare Program.Sponsor: Sen. Collins, Susan M. [R-ME] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (1)Committees: Senate – FinanceLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  5. S.3865— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to provide for the treatment of certain criminal violations under the paycheck protection program, and for other purposes.Sponsor: Sen. Portman, Rob [R-OH] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (3)Committees: Senate – Small Business and EntrepreneurshipLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  6. S.3866— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to amend title 49, United States Code, to improve the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft certification process, and for other purposes.Sponsor: Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (0)Committees: Senate – Commerce, Science, and TransportationLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  7. S.3867— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to require the Secretary of Defense to establish a program to carry out minor military construction projects to construct child development centers.Sponsor: Sen. Sinema, Kyrsten [D-AZ] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (1)Committees: Senate – Armed ServicesLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  8. S.3868— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A bill to require the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to evaluate members of the Armed Forces and veterans who have tested positive for a virus certified as a pandemic for potential exposure to open burn pits and toxic airborne chemicals or other airborne contaminants, to conduct a study on the impact of such a pandemic on members and veterans with such exposure, and for other purposes.Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (3)Committees: Senate – Veterans’ AffairsLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  9. S.Res.601— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that order must be immediately restored to the cities of the United States so that citizens may have peace and the legitimate grievances of peaceful protestors may be heard and considered.Sponsor: Sen. McConnell, Mitch [R-KY] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (0)Committees: Senate – JudiciaryLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. (All Actions)Tracker: 
  10. S.Res.602— 116th Congress (2019-2020)A resolution recognizing that the murder of George Floyd by officers of the Minneapolis Police Department is the result of pervasive and systemic racism that cannot be dismantled without, among other things, proper redress in the courts.Sponsor: Sen. Markey, Edward J. [D-MA] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (4)Committees: Senate – JudiciaryLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. (All Actions)Tracker: 

12. S.Res.603 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that State agencies and other providers of foster care services should make every effort to ensure that siblings remain together in the foster care system.Sponsor: Sen. Klobuchar, Amy [D-MN] (Introduced 06/02/2020) Cosponsors: (9)Committees: Senate – Health, Education, Labor, and PensionsLatest Action: Senate – 06/02/2020 Referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

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