House Democrats Release Postal Bill, and Senate GOP Releases Skinny COVID Relief Package:
House Democrats released a bill today that would halt post office cutbacks and give the agency $25 billion in additional funding. Text of the six page bill can be viewed here, and the House is planning on passing the bill on Saturday.
Republican Senators also are circulating a new, “skinny” coronavirus relief package. If this package can get the support of at least 50 Senators, the Senate leadership strategy will be to attach this package to a “must pass” continuing resolution (CR) that Congress will use to fund the government past the September 30 deadline. Right now it is too early to tell whether this strategy can be successful.
The package, as it currently stands, would include:
- Liability Reform – Provides necessary liability protections for non-profits, hospitals, churches, schools, and businesses from opportunistic litigation. Individuals and businesses who operate in good faith and follow the guidance of their state or local public health officials will have safe harbor during this unprecedented pandemic.
- Education Funding – Includes $105B to help get students back to school and provide for the continued learning of all students in elementary, secondary, and higher education.
- $70B for elementary and secondary schools. Of that, 1/3 goes out immediately to these schools, both private and public. 2/3 goes to schools re-opening in person.
- $29B for higher education.
- $5B for the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund.
- $1B for the Bureau of Indian Education and outlying areas.
- Testing Funding – Provides $16B for testing, contact tracing, mitigation and surveillance of COVID-19 in states.
- Vaccine Preparation – Provides $29B for vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostic development, as well as vaccine distribution.
- PPP Second Draw – Provides a second draw of PPP loans capped at $2 million for businesses with 300 or fewer employees and revenue losses of 35% or more. The provision uses $100B in unobligated funds and approximately $160B in new funds.
- Unemployment Insurance – In line with the President’s recent executive order, the bill provides a federal plus-up of $300 for pandemic unemployment insurance until December 27, 2020.
- USPS Funding – Provides assistance to the postal service by converting the $10B loan to USPS in the CARES Act to a grant.
- Continuing Resolution – Includes a CR for government funding until December 18, 2020, ensuring Democrats cannot use the threat of a government shutdown as a negotiating tactic before the election.
Postmaster General Dejoy also announced that he is taking a variety of measures to ensure the post office can efficiently handle the mail, including delaying policies that had been the subject of significant criticism in recent days. Speaker Pelosi responded to the announcement by stating that this was the proper course of action and the result of the “heat” brought by Democrats. However, Pelosi also stated that the action was an “insufficient first step in ending President Trump’s election sabotage campaign” and still plans to move ahead with the Saturday vote.
U.S. Department of Labor to Offer Online Prevailing Wage Seminars in September For Employers, Workers and Other Stakeholders
In a press release, DOL announced it is offering online seminars in September “to provide compliance assistance on the legal requirements to pay prevailing wages on federal and federally funded contracts for contracting agencies, contractors, unions, workers and other stakeholders. The events are part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness among and improve compliance by employers with federal and federally funded contracts.”
DOL’s Wage and Hour Division will offer the live portion of the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts seminar on prevailing wage requirements on federal and federally funded construction contracts from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 15, 2020. Register here.
The live portion of the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act seminar on prevailing wage requirements for contractors performing services on federal contracts will be from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10 and 16, 2020. Register for one of these sessions.
More information about the online seminars is available here.
Florida, Wyoming and Alaska Primary Results:
Primary results in Florida yesterday left Freshman Rep. Ross Spano (R-Dover), who had been under fire and investigation for accepting improper loans to his 2018 campaign, losing his re-nomination campaign last night to Lakeland City Commissioner, local business owner, and retired Navy pilot Scott Franklin in a 51-49% count with over 60,000 votes tabulated. Mr. Spano becomes the eighth House incumbent and fifth Republican to lose re-nomination this year, however, with Franklin now as the new GOP nominee, the GOP could be in stronger position to hold the potentially competitive seat in November.
For the Democrats, former TV News anchorman Alan Cohn defeated state Rep. Adam Hattersley (D-Riverview), 41-33%, to advance into the general election.
Two open seats in Florida also picked their GOP primary winners, both of whom are now favorites to win the general election. In retiring Rep. Ted Yoho’s (R-Gainesville) 3rd District, his former staff member and ex-campaign manager Kat Cammack scored an upset win with just over 25% of the vote in a field of nine other candidates. She defeated former congressional aide and businessman Judson Sapp, and physician James St. George, both of whom substantially outspent Ms. Cammack. She now faces apparent Democratic primary winner Adam Christensen.
In the open 19th District, anchored in the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area, two-term Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Naples/Ft. Myers) is retiring. In what turned into a very close finish, State Rep. Byron Donald won with nearly 23 percent of the vote in the nine-person primary for the district, after Dane Eagle, Donalds' chief competitor in Tuesday's race, called to concede. College professor Cindy Banyai was an easy winner on the Democratic side, but she is a severe underdog in the general election.
In the competitive 13th District primary, US Air Force veteran, businesswoman and conservative activist Anna Paulina Luna won the Republican primary against attorney and former congressional aide Amanda Makki, 2018 nominee George Buck, and two others in another race where the winning candidate was outspent. Ms. Luna will now oppose Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) in the general election.
In an expected result, former four-term Rep. Cynthia Lummis easily won the open Republican US Senate primary with a 60% win over nine opponents to succeed retiring four-term Sen. Mike Enzi (R) and now becomes the favorite to defeat new Democratic nominee Merav Ben-David, a Laramie college professor and zoologist.
In Alaska, surgeon Al Gross was an easy Democratic Senate primary winner in the wee early morning hours and now will challenge first-term Sen. Dan Sullivan (R). While the seat is seen as a likely Republican hold for 2020, the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group working to defeat the president, has spent $1.3 million on ads supporting Gross and calling Sullivan a “Trumpist.” And a group called Flip the West has spent $8,000 on text messaging and phone campaigning to support Gross.