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Capitol Correspondence - 10.13.20

Congressional Round Up: Key News from Last Week

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While Capitol Correspondence and Stateside Report were on hiatus last week due to ANCOR’s Policy Summit, Congress wrapped up some of its pending efforts before lawmakers went home to focus on their reelection campaigns. Highlights from the past week include:

  • COVID-19 cases forced the Senate to not resume session. With three Republican Senators infected with COVID-19 and two more in quarantine, the Senate did not resume session on October 5 as originally scheduled but will instead stay on recess until October 19. However, note that this to date has not affected the Senate Judiciary Committee’s ability to hold a hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the late Justice Ginsberg’s seat on Supreme Court. The hearing began yesterday.
  • Legislation averting a federal shutdown became law. In time to avoid the September 30 deadline, the Senate passed House-approved legislation for a short-term budget extension, funding the government through December 12. The legislation then went to President Trump, who signed it into law on September 30. The House is now on recess but will return if negotiations on COVID-19 legislation resume.
  • COVID-19 relief funding talks continued in limbo as discussions stalled between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. On Wednesday, President Trump officially withdrew the White House from negotiations until after the election. However, the President later introduced uncertainty on whether talks could resume on a stimulus bill when he tweeted calls for legislation to assist airlines and small businesses, as well as grant a second round of stimulus payments for American citizens. ANCOR will keep members informed of developments on this issue. This uncertainty is further compounded by Axios reporting that the President is now calling for a “big deal” on pandemic relief. As we seek more clarity on this issue, we urge you to continue pressuring Congress to address the need for more Medicaid funding during the pandemic through social media and our online action tool.
  • The House passed an updated version of the HEROES Act. While this legislation is considered unlikely to pass the Senate, it contained key provisions which ANCOR supported:
    • Increasing funding for Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) during the pandemic. Specifically, the updated bill kept language from the original legislation that would grant an increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate, specifically for HCBS services. Please consult ANCOR’s statement on the updated legislation for more details.
    • Expanding eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to all nonprofits, regardless of size. ANCOR has advocated for this expansion in many ways, including through a letter signed by 2,300 organizations led by ASAE, the association for association professionals to which ANCOR belongs. However, ASAE has flagged that the language for this expansion is still problematic because it would restrict eligibility based on how much time organizations spend lobbying.
  • Sponsors reintroduced the Care Corps Demonstration Act. This legislation, sponsored by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI), would create a National Care Corps of volunteers to assist with the growing need for caregivers in the United States. ANCOR supported this legislation in 2018, then again when it was re-introduced in 2019, and will support it this year as well.