Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
March 25, 2021

The Senate convened at 10 a.m. and began work on H.R.1799– PPP Extension Act of 2021.  As of now, the PPP is set to expire on March 31, 2021. However, the PPP Extension Act of 2021 – which would extend the PPP to May 31, 2021 – was passed with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives by a 415-3 vote and will likely pass the Senate today.  The Senate will also vote to confirm the nomination of Adewale O. Adeyemo to be Deputy Secretary of the Treasury today as well.

At 10 a.m. the Senate Judiciary Committee began consideration of the nominations of Lisa Monaco for deputy AG and Vanita Gupta for associate AG.  The Committee overwhelmingly approved by a voice vote President Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as deputy attorney general, Lisa Monaco, paving the way for her to receive a confirmation vote on the Senate floor.  At the same time, however, Republicans signaled they would not be willing to support Biden’s associate attorney general nominee Vanita Gupta.  Debate on Gupta’s record is expected to continue before the panel proceeds to vote on her nomination.

The House is in a committee work week this week and will next be in session on Tuesday, April 13th, after a two week recess.  For today, at 11 am, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has a hearing on the Biden administration’s transportation infrastructure priorities. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testifies.  Buttigieg is set to appear as part of an opening gambit to sell Congress on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. Congress just passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, but Buttigieg is expected to tell lawmakers that a broader economic recovery will require a national commitment to fix and transform America’s infrastructure.  He calls the coming months “the best chance in any of our lifetimes to make a generational investment in infrastructure.”

At 12 p.m. the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology and the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will have a hearing on social media’s role in spreading misinformation, featuring Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.  Pallone Memo.  In opening statements made available before the hearing, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Google’s Sundar Pichai each laid out the conversation they’d prefer to have.  Zuckerberg pushed for reforms to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that wouldn’t resolve the issues at hand, but would probably give Facebook another leg up on smaller competitors. Google defended Section 230 and pointed to its own often mild or delayed efforts to contain election misinformation that ultimately snowballed into the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Twitter mostly looked forward rather than back, pointing to initiatives to make its own algorithms transparent and to invite more community-level moderation efforts.

At 1 p.m. the House Foreign Affairs Committee has a virtual markup of 12 bills, including legislation that would repeal the 2002 authorization for use of military force against Iraq.

At 1:15 p.m. President Joe Biden holds his first news conference.  Until now, reporters have had only limited opportunities to directly interrogate President Biden. He is expected to face questions about topics including gun control, border policy, trillions of dollars in spending and the pandemic.  If he follows the routines established by previous presidents in both parties, Mr. Biden will pick the reporters he wants to call on, but he will have no control over the questions they ask, and his answers will be broadcast live.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.