Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
March 24, 2021

The Senate convened at 10:30 a.m. and is working on the nomination of Rachel Levine to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, and will also work on the nomination of David Turk to be Deputy Secretary of Energy with confirmation votes on both today.

At 10 a.m. the Senate Rules Committee began a hearing on S.1, the “For The People Act,” where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) delivered remarks.  Witnesses include former Attorney General Eric Holder, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, and Indiana AG Todd Rokita.  Leader Schumer sharply criticized new bills being offered by Republicans in dozens of states that would place limits on the ability to vote and accused Republicans of trying to “disenfranchise” voters after they lost the 2020 election.  Schumer also spoke on the Senate floor about the election bills being proposed, accusing Republicans of embracing former President Trump’s “big lie”—that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen” from him and that he really actually “won”.  As recently as this week Trump said in an interview, “We did much better in the second election than we did in the first election. And it was a rigged election.”

At 10 a.m. the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee began a virtual hearing on the quarterly CARES Act report to Congress with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell slated to testify.  This is the second day this week both are appearing for virtual Capitol Hill testimony, and the focus of the hearings is the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, adopted in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide financial aid to individuals and businesses. The semiannual hearings are mandated as part of the act.  In Tuesday’s appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, the pair discussed the state of the economy, market valuations, climate change and a host of other issues. Both officials emphasized the strides the economy has made over the last year as well as the challenges that remain.

The House remains in a committee work week, and will reconvene on Tuesday, April 13th, after two weeks of recess.  For today, at 11:30 a.m. the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will have a virtual hearing on the “Power Struggle: Examining the 2021 Texas Grid Failure.” Chairman Pallone Memo.  At 2:00 PM the Subcommittee on Energy will also hold a hearing on “The Clean Future Act.”  Chairman Pallone Memo.  In the 116th Congress, the Subcommittee on Energy held a series of hearings regarding select pathways toward reaching a 100 percent clean economy by no later than 2050. Those hearings formed the basis for the CLEAN Future Act, which was initially released as a discussion draft on January 28, 2020. The bill includes provisions focused on infrastructure resilience, grid modernization, and energy efficiency.

Finally, at 10 a.m. the House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing on Equal Pay Day, which is today.  The hearing will examine the pay gap, the disproportionate inequalities women of color face, and hear from witnesses like U.S. Women’s National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe.  Historically, systemic inequities, including the gender pay gap, have impeded economic equality between genders in the United States.  Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, women bore a disproportionate burden of care work, held a majority of low-wage jobs, and were more likely than men to be forced out of employment.  The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated these persistent inequities.  Since February 2020, women have experienced a net loss of more than 5.4 million jobs—55% of the United States’ overall net job loss since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Later today, The President and The First Lady host an event with Margaret Purce, Megan Rapinoe, and members of the U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team to mark Equal Pay Day

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.