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How your congressional delegates voted

  • Post published:June 1, 2020
  • Post category:News

For the week ending May 29

PLUGGING HOLES IN PAYCHECK PROTECTION: Voting 417 for and one against, the House on May 28 passed a bill (HR 7010) that would change the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to correct deficiencies uncovered since it was enacted March 27 to help companies with fewer than 500 employees stay in business and retain workers during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Congress has appropriated $649 billion for the PPP, but at least $100 billion of the outlay has not yet been distributed because of program flaws addressed by this bill.

In its original form, the PPP funded two-year, 1% Small Business Administration loans, which would be converted to grants if the recipient company, in an eight-week span, used at least 75% of the sum for payroll costs and the remainder for utility and rent or mortgage payments. This bill extends the spending window to 24 weeks and changes the allocation ratio from 75-25 to 60-40. In addition, the bill would:

  • Allow companies to include laid-off workers who have received “good faith” rehiring offers to be included in the payroll count for satisfying loan-forgiveness requirements. One effect of this provision would be to allow those out of work to collect a full allotment of state and federally funded unemployment checks before returning to their employer’s payroll.
  • Establish a safe harbor for businesses, including restaurants, that are required to open at limited (such as 50%) capacity in order to comply with social-distancing rules. These companies would receive more time to achieve staffing levels necessary to have their loan converted to a grant.
  • Allow companies to keep IRS payroll-tax benefits, including deductions, for the portion of a worker’s pay funded by a PPP loan that is later converted to a grant.

No member spoke against the bill. The negative vote was cast by Thomas Massie, R-Ky.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

YES: Deb Haaland, D-1, Xochitl Torres Small, D-2, Ben Ray Luján, D-3

REQUIRING TRANSPARENCY IN CORONAVIRUS FUNDING: Voting 269 for and 147 against, the House on May 28 failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill (HR 6782) that would require the Small Business Administration to set up a publicly accessible database of recipients of Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Assistance loans over $2 million and their number of employees. The database also would have to enumerate companies receiving SBA coronavirus aid that are owned by women, minorities and veterans. There is presently no public resource for tracking the distribution of at least $725 billion in coronavirus loans and grants this year to companies, nonprofits and the self-employed.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

YES: Haaland, Torres Small, Luján

EXTENDING DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE AUTHORITY: Voting 284 for and 122 against, the House on May 28 sent a five-year extension (HR 6172) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to conference with the Senate. The House had been poised to send the bill to President Trump on a bipartisan vote. But Republicans abruptly withdrew support after Trump asked them to do so for reasons related to the FBI’s use of FISA warrants to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. So House Democrats arranged this vote to send the bill to additional negotiations with the Senate. The bill would renew FISA provisions related to domestic surveillance that require periodic congressional renewal because of their clash with civil liberties.

In part, the bill prohibits the use of FISA Section 215 to obtain GPS and cellphone locations; requires the attorney general to approve in writing FISA warrants issued against elected officials or candidates, and expands civil liberties’ protections for domestic religious institutions, public officials, news organizations and other parties targeted or innocently swept up in FISA probes.

A yes vote was to send the bill to a House-Senate conference.

YES: Haaland, Torres Small, Luján H

HOUSE Deb Haaland (D) Ben Ray Luján (D) Xochitl Torres Small (D)

SENATE Martin Heinrich (D) Tom Udall (D)

Contact your legislators at the U.S. Capitol
Zip codes: House 20515, Senate 20510
Capitol operator: (202) 224-3121