The House’s June schedule will be a busy one.
The House plans a June 25 vote on the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and will tackle the following week legislation on the Affordable Care Act. It will begin debate on a “major, major” infrastructure bill on the House floor starting June 30, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said Thursday.
On a Thursday webcast held by BakerHostetler, Hoyer said that when House lawmakers return on June 25, “we’re going to pass” the Justice and Policing Act, which deals with police accountability and training.
Awaiting Senate action: a $3.4 trillion economic aid bill the House passed in May. “Nobody in the Congress of the United States ever, ever thought they were going to vote for a bill that was that large, yet we passed it through the House of Representatives,” Hoyer said.
House lawmakers, he continued, are “hopeful” the Senate will come together to discuss the bill, called the Heroes Act, “very soon.”
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, who’s chairman of the National Governors Association, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York “both said that states are hemorrhaging money,” Hoyer relayed, “and if you don’t help us, we’re going to have to be laying off ‘heroes’ — police, firemen, teachers, emergency medical response teams, sanitation workers, all sorts of people who are critical to the daily lives of American communities.”
The Heroes bill is a “very comprehensive” bill that ensures states, municipalities and cities are able to continue services, he said.
House lawmakers will also meet the last week of June to address making premiums and deductibles more affordable under the Affordable Care Act.
“The schedule in June is very unusual,” Hoyer said. “These are the most unnormal of times, the most unique of times. Not only have we been confronted with a pandemic that is a once in a century pandemic, that has forced us to not have a recession or depression but to, in effect, put our economy on hold, or as somebody said ‘put it in a coma,’ and that’s had extraordinary economic ramifications. Those ramifications are going to be with us for a very long period of time.”
Hoyer said he “reserved the first three weeks [of June] to accommodate our new procedures,” which allow for virtual hearings, markups and votes. “But it seems to be working well.”
Hoyer noted that Congress passed “four major bills” dealing with COVID-19, all in a bipartisan fashion. “They didn’t always start out bipartisan, but they ended up bipartisan.”
He added: “There are really good people on both sides of the aisle. If we could get over this demand by both sides to be confrontational and make political points, we’d be more successful.”
Lawmakers, Hoyer said, also have to be wary of being influenced by partisan bickering from outside groups. “We can’t always get it our own way. We can’t demand people do what we want them to do. So we give and take.”
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