The Bills Congress Is Working On This Week 3/1

Two mammoth bills are working their way through Congress this week, which means we need to put some serious pressure on our reps in the Capitol.

This past Saturday, the House passed the $1.9M coronavirus relief plan, so now it heads over to the Senate. The Senate is still confirming President Biden’s nominees but it will also now take up the bill. One of the first steps it’ll need to go through is vote-a-rama, where any Senator can propose amendments to the bill. It’s a long, drawn out process and will very likely make some news.

The Senate is expected to make some changes to the bill. This is ok, but not if the changes are too out of alignment from the House bill. So when you call your Senators this week to urge them to pass the coronavirus bill as soon as possible, you may also want to add that you hope they don’t make too many changes to the House bill. So, first things first, we need to make sure the Senate passes the bill, so make your calls, no matter what party your Senators belong to.

One of the big curveballs was that while the House left the $15 mininum wage hike in their bill, the Senate parliamentarian ruled this weekend that that stipulation violates the Senate rules on how reconciliation works. The Democrats were working throughout the weekend to see if there was a way to include it anyway, possibly by forcing just large corporations to implement it, but that ran into major logistical problems on Sunday, so it isn’t looking too good. (Whatever happens with the $15 minimum wage, however, even if it doesn’t end up in the coronavirus relief bill, it will not be the end of the road for this policy goal.)

Once the Senate passes the bill, the House and the Senate will need to come together to work out the differences between the two bills before they can send the finalized legislation to Biden’s desk for his signature. The Democrats are hoping to get this into law within the next two weeks.

Back to the House. Now that they’ve passed the gargantuan coronavirus bill, our Representatives will be turning their attention to the bill that I’ve been excited about since the start of the last Congress: HR1, or the For The People Act. I written a couple of posts about it, most recently last week, so I won’t go on and on about how great it is.

Well, maybe a little. A reminder: This is the bill that will usher in massive reforms for voting. It bans gerrymandering. It makes early voting possible in every state. There would be a federal automatic voter registration. It includes exciting stipulations to reform campaign finance. And so much more.

Considering just how many voter suppression rules and laws the Republicans are trying to pass right now (even in red states!!), we have no time to lose to get this important legislation passed. So, when you call your one Representative this week, tell them that you are 100% behind HR1 and you want them to pass it right away. Once they pass the bill, it’ll then head over to the Senate, where it is called S1. And because the Senate can’t use reconciliation on this bill, we’re going to need to eliminate or at least reform the filibuster to get it passed. We won’t be able to pass the 60 vote threshold — we’ll need a lot of help getting it to 50 as it is.

So there you have it, folks. Two, incredibly important bills working through Congress this week. Let’s make sure our Senators and Reps know our demands! Thank you for taking action.

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