The Senate now stands adjourned until 3:00 pm on Monday, April 12th. The Senate will hold pro forma sessions only with no business conducted on the following dates and times, Monday, March 29th at 11:00 am, Thursday, April 1st at 10:00 am, and also Monday, April 5th at 2:00 pm and Thursday, April 8th at 5:30 pm. When the Senate reconvenes, it will resume consideration of the nomination of Polly Ellen Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation. As the Senate continues to process President Joe Biden’s nominees, cloture his been filed on the following nominations: Wendy Sherman to be Deputy Secretary of State, Gary Gensler to be Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Brenda Mallory to be a Member of the Council on Environmental Quality.
Before leaving, the Senate voted 92-7 on Thursday to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which provides loans to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus. The bill moved the deadline from March 31st to May 31st. The measure now heads to President Biden’s desk for his expected signature. In addition to extending the window for applying for the loans, which can be forgiven if borrowers meet certain requirements, the bill also gives the Small Business Administration (SBA) until June 30th to process the applications.
The House is wrapping up its committee work week and will go into a two week recess, reconvening on Tuesday, April 13th, with votes at 6:30.
At his first formal press conference, President Biden on Thursday doubled to 200 million his administration’s goal for the number of COVID-19 vaccination shots to administer in his first 100 days in office. The U.S. is set to reach Biden’s original goal of 100 million shots on Friday, the president’s 59th day in office. The U.S. currently has a seven-day average of about 2.5 million doses per day, which would allow the country to reach 200 million by April 23, a week before the 100-day mark. As President Biden closes in on his 60th day in office, initial unemployment claims for the week ending March 20 fell below 700,000, coming in at a seasonally adjusted 684,000. It was the first week since the pandemic began that weekly claims fell below the pre-pandemic record of 695,000 set in 1982, though they remain above the Great Recession high of 665,000. As of March 6th, the last week for which data was available, nearly 19 million people were receiving benefits of any kind from a variety of programs.