MARK-UPS AND IMPEACHMENT.
- HOUSE COMMITTEES BEGIN TO MARKUP COVID-19 RELIEF PACKAGE. This week, House committees will begin to markup their pieces of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Last week, the House and Senate passed a budget resolution to lay the groundwork for the reconciliation process. This will allow Democrats to pass the relief package with just a simple majority vote in the Senate, instead of the 60 votes required for most legislation. Democrats are aiming to give President Biden a package by mid-March, prior to the expiration of the additional COVID-19 unemployment benefits. House committees marking up legislation this week could mean one of two things. It could mean this is the actual legislation that will come to the Senate floor (meaning it meets the Byrd rule requirements). Alternatively, the House version could be generally aspirational. If it is the former, this process would allow Senate Republicans to see the language weeks before the package heads to the Senate floor. If it is the later, Senate Republicans would have limited opportunities to see the final package before it is passed. The difference is critical for winning Byrd rule challenges.
- IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL TAKE UP AIRTIME. Also happening this week is the impeachment trial in the Senate. The first day of the trial will be February 9, 2021. Seventeen Senate Republicans would need to vote with all Senate Democrats in order to convict former President Trump. Though a conviction remains unlikely, how the trial unfolds could have serious implications for bipartisanship going forward, and the process is likely to take up most of the oxygen in Washington, DC, until it is resolved.
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