SEPTEMBER 25 FEDERAL UPDATE
There have been several important changes since we last wrote you, which may affect your federal advocacy goals and your state Census outreach.
We expect the Senate to be in nominal session throughout October to work on replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s place on the Supreme Court, with the Judiciary Committee members holding a hearing and possibly the full Senate returning for a vote on the nominee before the election. The Senate Democrats may use procedural tools to delay the vote (for example, Senator Schumer invoked the “two-hour rule” to prevent a committee meeting during a full Senate debate and vote, which is a decision he can make on any given day) but ultimately we anticipate that if the Republicans choose to hold a vote before the election they will be able to do so. Because the Senate will be in town anyway, that increases the possibility of a vote on a COVID relief bill before the election. In November, Congress will be in session from the 9th to the 20th (except for the 11th) as well as the first three weeks of December.
The House passed a “continuing resolution” bill (CR) to keep the government funded after September. The Senate is expected to pass the bill before Wednesday September 30 to avoid a partial government shutdown. The bill will fund the government through December 11. The continuing resolution secured wins in child nutrition.
After weeks of inaction on another COVID relief package, negotiations between House Democrats and White House representatives have resumed. If a bipartisan deal is not reached within a week, Pelosi plans to introduce a new relief package to the floor (around $2.2 trillion) next week. We do not have many details about what is in the bill; we think it does not include child care funds. This creates a new opportunity to put pressure on members of Congress to include all the priorities for children and families.
By court order, the 2020 Census has been extended to October 31. Yesterday, a district judge in the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction that extends self-response and nonresponse follow-up by a month. The Justice Department is expected to appeal this order today, and the appellate court must decide whether to leave the order in place pending appeal or lift it. Thus the Census could end as early as September 30 or as late as October 31, or some date in between. The order also bars the administration from sending the census data to the president in December, which gives the Bureau more time to process it accurately.
Meanwhile, in Congress, the effort to get a legislative extension of the deadline in the Senate is slowly growing. The bipartisan bill now has four Republican and four Democratic sponsors, which makes it more likely to be included in any relief package. The Republican sponsors are Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan, Perdue, and Daines; Democrats are Sens. Schatz, Peters, Leahy, and Tester.
It continues to be important to try to get more Republican sponsors (we understand they have Democrats lined up who will be added only as Republicans are added).