Senate In, House on Recess as Next Covid-Aid Package Could Take into July

Posted on 06/01/2020 3:29 AM

Eight states hold primaries Tuesday with focus on Iowa and Montana


Washington Focus


The Senate returns this week, but the House doesn't plan to be in session, with no votes expected. However, several committees will be holding virtual hearings.


The Senate will consider several nominations and take up the House-passed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) flexibility legislation. Several senators are expected to seek changes to the measure.


     Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate would consider changes to PPP as a standalone bill, with no timeline given. The Senate may then consider a larger Covid-19 aid bill in late June or July. McConnell on Friday said Congress will decide whether to pass a “final” coronavirus relief package in about a month “and it will be narrowly crafted, designed to help us where we are a month from now, not where we were three months ago.” He again stressed he will not support a plan that does not include a measure to shield doctors and businesses from certain lawsuits as the economy reopens. Democrats have opposed sweeping liability protections. McConnell also said Congress would “help those who are still unemployed.” But he criticized the $600 per week federal benefit set to expire after July. Democrats are pushing hard for a six-month extension of the extra $600 per week that is set to expire at the end of July. Most Republicans, including McConnell are opposing an extension of the added benefits. A possible compromise: Capping unemployment benefits at 100% of pay.


Updated House calendar has one voting day in June, 12 in July. An updated House legislative calendar for 2020 has only one scheduled voting day in June, 12 in July and none in August. Members are not scheduled to meet again for votes until June 30, but that could change for legislation to respond to Covid-19. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he would give members 72 hours’ notice before they come back to the Capitol.


     Appropriations markups to start in late June. The House plans to pass its 12 fiscal 2021 appropriations bills before leaving town for the August recess, according to Hoyer — even if it means that recess is delayed.


On the policy front, talks in both chambers continue on the next Covid-19 aid package, which will include ag-related items such as more direct payments, a boost in USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing authority (from current $30 bil. cap to $50 bil. or more), more funding for food purchases/donations, more food stamp (SNAP) funding, ethanol/biofuel aid and indemnity payments to livestock producers. An issue that keeps coming up and could still be modified is USDA's latest payment limits relative to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and future relief plans.


     U.S./China tensions are another top item, with President Donald Trump on Friday not providing many details on threatened sanctions and other actions. See the June 1 Policy Updates for the latest on this matter.


Eight states and Washington, D.C., will hold primaries on Tuesday.


     In Iowa, Rep. Steve King (R) will fight to defend his House seat from a GOP challenge from businessman Randy Feenstra, who has been backed by much of the Republican establishment. Jeremy Taylor, Bret Richards, and Steven Reeder will also face off against King in the Republican primary, potentially splitting the anti-King vote. Iowa will also hold three other House primaries for races that are likely to be close in the fall, including the open race to replace retiring Rep. Dave Loebsack (D) in the 2nd District. In the Senate, former urban planner Theresa Greenfield is heavily favored to emerge as the winner from the Democratic primary, setting up a challenge against Sen. Joni Ernst (R) for a seat rated as "Lean Republican" by the Cook Political Report.


     In Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock (D) is likely to win his party’s Senate nomination as Democrats look to flip Sen. Steve Daines's (R) seat in the fall.


Hearings and Events This Week


Congressional and other discussions again center on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Other issues include an event on Thursday on major issues affecting the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries.


Monday, June 1


     — USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue travels to the Atlanta area to participate in Farmers to Families Food Box event. He will deliver fresh food at the Atlanta State Farmers Market at Athena Farms in Forest Park, Ga.

     — China & Africa. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) discussion via webcast on "China's Growing Footprint in Africa."

     — Argentina. Inter-American Dialogue (IAD) webinar on "Argentina - Between Covid-19 and Default."

     — Election security during a pandemic. Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Lauren Underwood (D-Ill.) hold a virtual forum on "Coronavirus and Homeland Security Part 11: Election Security & Integrity During a Pandemic."


Tuesday, June 2


     — CARES Act implementation. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Implementation of Title IV of the CARES Act."

     — State governments & Covid-19. House Energy & Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "On the Front Lines: How Governors are Battling the Covid-19 Pandemic,” with testimony from the governors of Colorado, Michigan & Arkansas.

     — Asian economic outlook. Center for Global Development (CGD) discussion via webcast on "Asia's Economic Outlook and Policy Responses Under Covid-19: Views from Beijing, Manila and Washington."

     — Food & the Middle East. Middle East Institute (MEI) discussion via webinar on "Breaking Bread: Food in Times of Covid-19," exploring the role that food has played during the pandemic, with a focus on Middle Eastern communities.

     — Technology & cities. Urban Institute discussion via webcast on "Why Technology Matters for Inclusive Cities," about how access to technology determines access to jobs, services, food and merchandise and education as well as how to create a more equitable future.

     — 5G & Huawei. Hudson Institute webinar on "Emerging 5G Technology is Disrupting Huawei's Hopes for Sector Dominance."

     — 2020 hurricane season. National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) webcast on "Facing an Active 2020 Hurricane Season: Impacts of the Loop Current."

     — Reopening America. Brookings Institution webinar on "A Roadmap for Re-Opening America: How to Save Lives and Livelihoods."

     — Personal finances & Covid-19. Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) webinar on "Your Personal Finances During Covid-19."

     — OMB, OPM nominees. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the nominations of Russell Vought to be director of the Office of Management and Budget; and Craig Leen to be inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management.

     — FDA drug oversight. Senate Finance Committee hearing on "Covid-19 and Beyond: Oversight of the FDA's Foreign Drug Manufacturing Inspection Process."

     — National parks & Covid-19. House Natural Resources Committee Democrats hold a forum via webcast on "Not So Grand Opening: Examining Local Perspectives on the Department of the Interior's Plan to Reopen National Parks During the Coronavirus Pandemic."

     — CARES Act budget issues. Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB) webinar on "Two Months In The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and Other Covid Relief."

     — Pandemic response. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) discussion via webcast on "Optimizing U.S. Global Pandemic Response."


Wednesday, June 3


     — Covid-19 economic impacts. House Budget Committee hearing on "Addressing the Economic Impacts of Covid-19: Views from Two Former CBO Directors."

     — OMB nomination. Senate Budget Committee hearing on the nomination of Russell Vought to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.

     — Transportation infrastructure & Covid-19. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on "The State of Transportation and Critical Infrastructure: Examining the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic."

     — WTO post Covid-19. Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) discussion via webcast on "The WTO (World Trade Organization) in the Post-Covid-19 World."

     — Trade & Covid-19. Washington International Trade Association (WITA) discussion via webinar on the future of trade in the wake of Covid-19, focusing on how to maintain an open global trading system and the role that the World Trade Organization can play in encouraging countries not to tax or restrict the export of medical equipment and limit the calls for onshoring supply chains.

     — Covid-19 & small businesses. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing on "Perspectives from Main Street: Covid-19's Impact on Small Business."

     — Asia & Covid-19. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States webcast on "Healthy Governance, Healthy Responses: Lessons from East Asia in Tackling Covid-19."

     — NLRB, EEOC nominations. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.) markup to vote on several nominations to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.

     — Crossfire Hurricane Investigation. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 1."

     — U.S. & Iran. Middle East Institute (MEI) discussion via webinar on "The Future of U.S./Iran Engagement: Lessons for the Next Administration."

     — Voting & Covid-19. House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Protecting the Right to Vote During the Covid-19 Pandemic."

     — Covid-19 & China. Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies' (SAIS) Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies webinar on "East Asia in the Post Covid-19 World: China and Beyond."

     — USAID response to Covid-19. Society for International Development, Washington, DC Chapter (SIDW) virtual briefing on "The U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) response to Covid-19.

     — Lending during Covid-19. House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on "Promoting Inclusive Lending During the Pandemic: Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions." The House Financial Services Consumer Protection & Financial Institution Subcommittee also hearing on this topic.

     — Transportation system. Maritime Administration meeting by webinar of the Maritime Transportation System National Advisory Committee to discuss advice and recommendations for the U.S. Department of Transportation on issues related to the marine transportation system.

     — Infrastructure & disease mitigation. Pew Charitable Trusts webinar on "Investing in Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Mitigation — Why It Matters Now More Than Ever."

     — Future of the euro. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) webinar on "Can the Euro Survive?" focusing on the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

     — VA disaster preparedness. House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee hearing on "Mission Readiness: VA Mission Readiness: VA's Preparedness for Natural Disasters During a Pandemic."

     — Global economy. Washington Post Live discussion via webcast on "The Path Forward: The Global Economy."

     — Biden campaign event. Biden for President "Women for Biden" webcast with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).


Thursday, June 4


     — Covid-19 & USMCA. The Washington International Trade Association (WITA) webinar on "Covid-19 and USMCA — The Pandemic and Implementation of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement."

     — Covid-19 & supply chains. U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) Marketlinks webinar on "Keeping Firms and Supply Chains Afloat in the Age of Covid-19."

     — Hong Kong. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Crisis in Hong Kong: A Review of US Policy Tools."

     — Infrastructure & economic recovery. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on "Infrastructure: The Road to Recovery."

     — Renewable energy. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration meeting by webcast of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee to discuss major issues affecting the competitiveness of the U.S. renewable energy and energy efficiency industries, consider recommendations for approval, and brief senior U.S. government officials on the efforts completed during the current Committee's charter term.

     — Venezuela. Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) webinar on "Venezuela's Crisis from Global Perspectives: Identifying Drivers, Transitions, and Pathways Out of Crisis."

     — Jones Act. American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) webinar on "The Jones Act at 100: Is it Time to Chart a New Course.?"

     — Colleges & Covid-19. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on "Covid-19: Going Back to College Safely."

     — Covid-19 response. House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on "Covid-19 Response."

     — Covid-19 & food industry. Hudson Institute discussion via webcast on "How Coronavirus Is Remaking the Food Industry."

     — Covid-19 & voting rights. House Administration Elections Subcommittee hearing on "The Impact of Covid-19 on Voting Rights and Election Administration: Ensuring Safe and Fair Elections."

     — Food security & Covid-19. Agency For International Development meeting by teleconference of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development on "Food Security and Nutrition in the Context of Covid-19: Impacts and Interventions."

     — U.S./Brazil relations. Atlantic Council webinar on "The Next Phase of the U.S./Brazil Economic Relationship: Bilateral Perspectives."

     — Covid-19 & banks. Brookings Institution webinar on "Covid-19 and the Financial System — How Resilient are the Banks? How are they Supporting the Economy?"

     — Covid-19 & textiles. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) webcast on "Innovation and Covid-19: The Textile Sector."


Friday, June 5


     — Covid-19 & East Asia cooperation. Henry L. Stimson Center webinar on "International Cooperation in East Asia under Covid-19: Perspectives on Taiwan, Japan, and the United States."

     — U.S./China relations. Institute of World Politics (IWP) webinar on "U.S./China Relations Post-Coronavirus."


Economic Reports for the Week


Economic reports include updates on construction spending, service PMI, factory orders, international trade and the headliner June jobs report at the end of the week. Economists forecast the unemployment rate will land right around 20% for June and average weekly hours won't move from April's level. The latest edition of the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, the summary of economic conditions from around the country prepared for the June 9-10 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, reports that employers are having difficulty hiring workers, despite a jobless rate likely to be about 20% when the May report arrives on Friday. Employers claim that many unemployed are getting more money than paychecks would provide—without the risk of contracting Covid-19 or the problem of finding child care.


     The Federal Reserve is in blackout this week before its next regularly scheduled FOMC meeting later this month.


Monday, June 1:


     — Institute for Supply Management releases its Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for May. Economists forecast a rebound to a 43 reading from April’s 41.5. The April reading was the lowest since 2009.
     — Census Bureau reports construction spending data for April. The consensus estimate is for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.27 trillion, down 6.3% from March’s $1.36 trillion.
     — PMI Mfg. Index

Tuesday, June 2:


     — Reserve Bank of Australia announces its monetary-policy decision. The central bank is expected to leave its target cash rate unchanged at 0.25%.

Wednesday, June 3:


     — ADP releases its National Employment Report for May. Private-sector employment is expected to decrease by 9.5 million, after shedding 20.2 million jobs in April. According to ADP, there were 8.6 million jobs lost in April for the leisure and hospitality industry, nearly as many as the total jobs lost during the Great Recession.
     — ISM releases its non-manufacturing PMI for May. Consensus estimate is for a 43.8 reading, up from April’s 41.8. The April figure was the first below the expansionary level of 50 since December 2009, ending a streak of 122 months of growth.
     — PMI Services Index

     — Factory Orders
     — Bank of Canada issues its latest rate-policy decision. Nearly all market watchers expect no change in the central bank’s main rate, at 0.25%, and senior officials have scoffed at entertaining negative rates, arguing they would cause too much disruption.
     — The eurozone unemployment rate likely rose in April amid widespread lockdowns. But the headline number probably won’t climb as high as the U.S. rate due to a range of government programs that pay companies to keep people on payrolls even if they aren’t working.

Thursday, June 4:


     — Department of Labor reports initial jobless claims for the week ending on May 30. Weekly claims continue to fall from their unprecedented elevated levels.
     — International Trade Productivity & Costs
     — Fed Balance Sheet
     — Money Supply
     — European Central Bank announces its monetary-policy decision. It is expected to leave its key rate at -0.5% but increase the size of the 750 billion euro Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program with an additional 500 billion euros of asset purchases.

Friday, June 5

     — Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the jobs report for May. Economists forecast a seven million drop in nonfarm payrolls, after April’s record 20.5 million decline. The unemployment rate is expected to rise to 19% from April’s 14.7%.
     — Consumer Credit
     — Canada issues May employment data, which is unlikely to show any meaningful rebound following bleak results tied to virus-induced shutdowns.


Key USDA & international Ag & Energy Reports and Events


Monday, June 1


     Ag reports and events:

  • Export Inspections
  • Crop Progress
  • Cotton System
  • Fats & Oils
  • Grain Crushings
  • International Cotton Advisory Committee monthly market balance outlook
  • Malaysia palm oil export data for May 1-31
  • Brazil soybean exports
  • Holiday: Germany, Italy, Belgium, New Zealand

Tuesday, June 2


     Ag reports and events:

  • U.S. Purdue Agriculture Sentiment
  • EU weekly grain, oilseed import and export data (delayed because of holiday)

     Energy reports and events:

  • API weekly U.S. oil inventory report

Wednesday, June 3


     Ag reports and events:

  • Broiler Hatchery
  • China’s CNGOIC monthly forecast on crop output, supply and demand

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report
  • U.S. weekly ethanol inventories

Thursday, June 4


     Ag reports and events:

  • Weekly Export Sales
  • Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data
  • Dairy Products
  • FAO world food price index, 4am
  • Port of Rouen data on French grain exports

     Energy reports and events:

  • EIA natural gas storage change

Friday, June 5


     Ag reports and events:

  • CFTC weekly commitments of traders report
  • Peanut Prices
  • Livestock and Meat International Trade Data
  • U.S. Agricultural Trade Data Update
  • FranceAgriMer weekly update on crop conditions
  • Malaysia’s palm oil export data for June 1-5

     Energy reports and events:

  • Baker Hughes weekly U.S. oil/gas rig counts



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