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House to tackle funding, marijuana in September

House to tackle funding, marijuana in September
© Bonnie Cash

The House will likely need to pass a short-term, stopgap funding bill when it returns in mid-September to avert a government shutdown at the end of next month, Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Congressional leaders present Biden, Harris with flags flown during inauguration LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE (D-Md.) wrote to colleagues on Monday.

“By September 30th, Congress must complete our work on appropriations and other expiring items, such as flood insurance and surface transportation. In July, the Democratic-led House passed legislation to fund nearly all of the government, yet to date the Senate has not held even a single markup of an appropriations bill,” Hoyer wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter. “At this rate, it is likely that we will have to pass a continuing resolution to keep government open past the end of this fiscal year. While that is not ideal, the House will do its job to avert a shutdown that would only further damage our economy.”

That continuing resolution should fund the government past the presidential election in November and into December, when Congress will face yet another threat of a shutdown in the lame-duck session.

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Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat who controls the floor schedule, said the House also will take up legislation from Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi names 9 impeachment managers Republicans gauge support for Trump impeachment Clyburn blasts DeVos and Chao for 'running away' from 25th Amendment fight MORE’s (D-N.Y.) known as the MORE Act that would decriminalize marijuana and expunge nonviolent federal cannabis convictions.

The House is slated to return to Washington the week of Sept. 14. The lower chamber that week will vote on two pieces of legislation, authored by Reps. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear Record number of women to serve in Biden Cabinet How fair housing and COVID-19 intersect MORE (D-Ohio) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Trump officials approve Georgia plan to remove healthcare.gov as enrollment option MORE (D-Va.), aimed at promoting greater diversity and addressing racial inequality in public schools.

Nadler’s Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act, which ensures pregnant women are not discriminated against or denied accommodations by their employers, will also get a vote.

In addition, the House will take up a resolution by Rep. Grace MengGrace MengRemember Asian American voters Democrats see spike in turnout among Asian American, Pacific Islander voters Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet MORE (D-N.Y.) that condemns all forms of anti-Asian bias and bigotry related to the coronavirus pandemic.

While millions of Americans are out of work from the pandemic, Democrats and Republicans have struggled to reach a deal on another COVID-19 relief package. Some anticipate it will have to be tied to the stopgap funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, though Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer placed on administrative leave: reports Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Biden taps career civil servants to acting posts at State, USAID, UN MORE (D-Calif.) has insisted they run on different tracks.

Pelosi and the White House are still about $1 trillion apart on a new relief package. Pelosi has come down to about $2.2 trillion in aid, while White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Inauguration Day Trump leaves White House, promises to be back in 'some form' LIVE INAUGURATION COVERAGE: Biden signs executive orders; press secretary holds first briefing MORE has offered $1.3 trillion. The House Democrats believe they have more leverage since they passed a massive relief package back in May called the HEROES Act.

“While we have all been waiting for the Senate to take action on the Heroes Act, it appears that the Republicans who control that chamber are not in a hurry to do their jobs and pass an emergency assistance package to help American workers and their families get through this economic and public health crisis,” Hoyer wrote. “If that changes, the House will return immediately to ensure that emergency assistance is delayed no further. … The American people need this assistance, and this will continue to be our priority in September.”