2021 BUDGET AND CORONAVIRUS: The House has passed a resolution (S. Con. Res. 5), sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders, ID-Vt., to establish the federal government’s fiscal 2021 budget and propose budgetary levels for 2022 through 2030. The 2021 budget would include up to $1.9 trillion of spending on a new coronavirus relief package. A bill supporter, Rep. Joseph D. Morelle, D-N.Y., said the relief package “will enable us to finally beat this virus and continue on the path of a national economic recovery.” A bill opponent, Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., said that incurring more debt to pay for relief would impose a burden on future generations, and a better approach to COVID-19 would be to end lockdowns that prevent small businesses from opening and “getting this economy up and running.” The vote, on Feb. 5, was 219 yeas to 209 nays.

YEAS: Chellie Pingree, D-1st District

NAYS: Jared Golden, D-2nd District

APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM: The House has passed the National Apprenticeship Act (H.R. 447), sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., to expand the Labor Department’s registered apprenticeship program, including a $3.5 billion increase in funding. Scott said: “Investing in registered apprenticeships not only benefits workers; it also strengthens our economy and helps employers build pipelines of talented and dedicated workers.” A bill opponent, Rep. Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho, faulted it for imposing federal rules that deprive schools and businesses of the option of using approved third parties to certify apprenticeship programs, making it harder for industry “to develop high-quality, high-paying jobs for the future.” The vote, on Feb. 5, was 247 yeas to 173 nays.

YEAS: Pingree, Golden



VETERANS AFFAIRS: The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Denis McDonough to serve as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. McDonough, the White House chief of staff  for the last four years of the Obama administration, was also its deputy national security advisor from 2010 to 2013. A supporter, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said McDonough “has approached each and every job with the spirit of respect, honesty, collaboration, and a willingness to make himself accessible to his colleagues and his team.” The vote, on Feb. 8, was 87 yeas to 7 nays.

YEAS: Susan Collins, R-Maine; Angus King, I-Maine

IMPEACHMENT TRIAL PROCEDURES: The Senate has passed a resolution (S. Res. 47), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., setting out procedures for the impeachment trial of former President Trump, including a potential final vote by the Senate on February 14. The vote, on Feb. 9, was 89 yeas to 11 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

IMPEACHMENT VALIDITY: The Senate has agreed to a motion posing the question of whether former President Trump, despite no longer being in office, can be subjected to an impeachment trial concerning acts he committed while president. The vote on finding that a trial is valid, on Feb. 9, was 56 yeas to 44 nays.

YEAS: Collins, King

Both Collins and King voted Saturday to convict Trump of inciting a mob of his supporters that attacked the Capitol last month. Trump escaped conviction in his impeachment trial because the Senate did not reach a two-thirds majority. The final tally was 57 guilty votes to 43 not guilty.

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