June Update: Legislative Branch FY2020 Appropriations Items Due Dates

Late last year, Congress passed the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill for FY 2020, starting the clock on dozens of Leg. Branch projects and reports across several legislative agencies. 

In January, our team reviewed requests from the Leg. Branch approps bill, broke them down by entity, and organized each of the deadlines. All requests are organized in a comprehensive spreadsheet that can be accessed here.

At the beginning of every month, our team provides updates of what items are due from the Leg. Branch appropriations bill, broken down by entity. Our previous installments include due dates for March and April (May had zero items to report). Each article also includes which items were due during the previous month at the end of the post. 

Expected This Month

Below are the three items that are expected in June 2020:

Continue reading “June Update: Legislative Branch FY2020 Appropriations Items Due Dates”
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Continuity of Congress: A Timeline of Remote Deliberations and Voting

Congress has been mostly absent as the country fights against the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the pandemic began, many lawmakers, outside organizations, and former Members of Congress encouraged the legislative branch to instantiate remote deliberations and voting measures in the event of an emergency. 

The following is a timeline of many of the recent key events concerning Continuity of Congress during a pandemic. More information can be found at continuityofcongress.org

Continue reading “Continuity of Congress: A Timeline of Remote Deliberations and Voting”

Where Each Member Stands on Remote Voting in Congress

Congress must change its rules to temporarily enable Members to vote remotely to ensure continuity of Congress.

Where Does Each Member Stand Two Weeks Later?

(Update, 04/10/20 11:48am): Two weeks ago, our team compiled a database to keep track of Members in the House and Senate who support emergency remote voting. 

Support for remote voting measures has grown significantly over the past two weeks. On April 2, the New Democrat Coalition Caucus wrote a letter to leadership urging them to engage in new remote measures. Then, on April 7, the Problem Solvers Caucus sent a bipartisan letter to leadership imploring the House to consider measures to enable Members to work remotely, including voting by phone or videoconference, or having voting machines installed in district offices.

Despite this bipartisan push by Rank and File Members and various caucuses, leadership is still against making any changes to the rules to enable remote voting in Congress. Speaker Pelosi indicated that the House most likely will not come back on its originally planned date of April 20, further disabling Congress’ ability to conduct regular business, schedule for its next round of appropriations, and conduct oversight of the executive branch.

Here are the key findings after two weeks:

  • 42 additional Representatives support remote voting. (23 Democrats and 19 Republicans).
  • In total, 111 Representatives support remote voting (88 Democrats and 23 Republicans).
  • No additional support in the Senate (18 total: 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans).
Continue reading “Where Each Member Stands on Remote Voting in Congress”

Legislative Staffers Get Paid Family and Medical Leave During The Pandemic, But It’s Not Permanent

In the midst of this pandemic, legislative staffers have been forced to modify the way they support lawmakers and constituents by switching to telework. These staffers remain on the metaphorical front lines though as they provide assistance to constituents who are desperately in need of support. Legislative staffers, especially those who reside in DC, are strapped with high housing costs, low wages, long work hours, and, with risk of illness particularly acute at the moment, they lack adequate paid and family leave protections.

There has undoubtedly been improvements to the paid parental leave benefits offered to legislative staffers in recent years, but there is still a long way to go. We have written before about the push for full paid family and medical leave for congressional staffers, but most policy proposals have been halted due to the ever-important task of adequately combating the coronavirus. While the passage of last year’s National Defense Authorization Act included provisions that enable congressional staff 12 weeks of paid parental leave, the legislation left out paid family and medical leave. 

For weeks during this pandemic, legislative staffers have not been able to get guaranteed paid time off to take care of themselves, sick family members, or kids who may be at home due to school closures. There have been numerous cases of congressional staffers contracting coronavirus while others have been forced to quarantine due to exposure. It’s also evident that this pandemic will be lasting months or longer.

But there is some good news: the paid leave guidelines all changed last week, albeit in a narrow way.

Continue reading “Legislative Staffers Get Paid Family and Medical Leave During The Pandemic, But It’s Not Permanent”

Capitol Police Round Up: Week Ending April 2, 2020

For the week ending April 2, 2020, there were 4 Capitol Police incidents reported; 4 individuals arrested. Only 3 of the 4 incidents reported were within USCP jurisdiction. There were 3 traffic related incidents, including two invalid traffic permits. Numbers continue to decline as the US Capitol Complex stays closed and DC’s stay-at-home order goes into effect. 

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What Leg. Branch Receives in the Third Supplemental

Last week Congress enacted its third Coronavirus supplemental bill in an effort to stabilize the country. The legislation limped out of Congress, requiring unusual voting procedures, a stifling of debate, and an almost unprecedented level of unanimity.

The Senate supplemental bill totals $2 trillion, the largest stimulus in our history. While the bill addresses somes issues critical to the preservation of life and functionality of the country —  while missing others — Congress failed to provide sufficient funding for the Legislative Branch to ensure it can continue to operate during the crisis. 

The appropriations division of the Senate’s bipartisan coronavirus aid and economic relief agreement contains $330 billion in new funding. Title IX of S. 3548 includes $93.1 million in funding for the Legislative Branch, a number that is far too low. It represents roughly 1/2000 of the expenditure.

Continue reading “What Leg. Branch Receives in the Third Supplemental”

April Update: Legislative Branch Appropriations Items Due Dates

Back in December 2019 – which feels like ages ago – Congress passed the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill for FY 2020, starting the clock on dozens of Leg. Branch projects and reports. 

In January, our team reviewed requests from the Leg. Branch approps bill, broke them down by entity, and summarized the deadlines. For those interested in looking at the complete spreadsheet, you can access it here.

We will regularly post a list of items due from the Leg. Branch approps bill, broken down by entity. We also will include which items were due during the previous month at the end of the report. 

Continue reading “April Update: Legislative Branch Appropriations Items Due Dates”