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U.S. Senators Propose Trade-Pact Waivers Amidst Focus on Domestic Preference Laws

The American Rescue Plan, signed into law last month, includes $1.9 trillion in economic stimulus, healthcare, and related funding.  And just last week the Biden administration released an infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, that includes $2.3 trillion in transportation, connectivity, power, and other critical infrastructure investments.Contractors are right to view these plans as massive … Continue Reading

Senator Grassley and Senior DOJ Official Discuss Potential False Claims Act Changes and Enforcement Priorities

On February 17, 2021, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Boynton, Acting Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, provided opening remarks at the Federal Bar Association’s annual Qui Tam Conference. Both emphasized the key role of the FCA in combating fraud against the Government, and noted an anticipated increase in FCA enforcement … Continue Reading

Senators Urge Secretary Yellen to Expand IRS Regulation and Enforcement of Political Spending by 501(c)(4) Organizations

In a letter sent to newly confirmed Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last Wednesday, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Elizabeth Warren called for renewed efforts to “rein in abuse by ‘dark money’ organizations” and urged Secretary Yellen to bolster the IRS’s “woefully inadequate” regulation and enforcement related to the political activity of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations.  As … Continue Reading

Senate Power-Sharing Agreement Finalized

After several weeks of negotiations proceeding in fits and starts, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached a power-sharing agreement governing the operation of the evenly divided Senate.  As expected, the deal, which passed by voice vote, largely conforms to the agreement in place when the Senate was last evenly divided … Continue Reading

Democrats Expected to Invoke Congressional Review Act to Repeal Trump-Era Regulations

The nullification of recent Trump Administration regulations is yet another item on the busy agenda for congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress.  With Democrats holding both the presidency and narrow majorities in both chambers of Congress, some Democrats have advocated using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal Trump-era rules finalized after August 21, 2020, … Continue Reading

The Byrd Rule and Its Impact on Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a process under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (CBA) that allows Congress to implement budget priorities affecting direct spending, revenues, and the debt limit using expedited procedures.  The principal benefit to using reconciliation is that a reconciliation bill cannot be filibustered in the Senate.  As a result, it takes only a simple … Continue Reading

Key Changes to House Rules for the 117th Congress

On January 4, 2021, the narrowed Democratic majority in the House of Representatives passed, in a party-line vote, a set of rules governing the House for the 117th Congress.  While the House, unlike the Senate, has to approve its rules every Congress, the rules stay generally consistent from Congress-to-Congress, with more significant amendments often coming … Continue Reading

Governing Under an Equally Divided Senate

After the election of two Democratic Senate candidates in the Georgia runoff elections on January 5, 2021, the Senate this year will be equally divided between 50 Democratic Senators (and those caucusing with them) and 50 Republican Senators. Governing in an equally divided Senate presents several challenges regarding the internal rules of the Senate, the … Continue Reading

BSA/AML Reform in the 2021 NDAA Becomes Law

On January 1, 2021, the Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “NDAA” or “Act”), which includes over 200 pages of significant reforms to the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and other anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws that have been working their way through Congress for several years.  The Senate’s … Continue Reading

Congressional Investigations: Recent Events Bring Greater Clarity to Expectations for 2021

As the calendar turns from 2020 to 2021, we are taking stock of congressional investigations over the past two years, and assessing events in the recent weeks that help to shed light on the likely trajectory for congressional investigations in 2021. In late October, we considered congressional investigations in the context of the upcoming election. We … Continue Reading

Preview of the New Senate

The election results show how deeply divided the electorate is and that division is reflected in the make-up of the government with a Democratic President and House and a Republican Senate. Neither Republicans nor Democrats have hit upon the right recipe to realign their party and shift a substantial portion of the voters in their … Continue Reading

Analysis of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020

On June 8, 2020, the House of Representatives introduced the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 (hereinafter “the Act” or “the bill”) to “hold law enforcement accountable for misconduct in court, improve transparency through data collection, and reform police training and policies.”  We anticipate a House committee markup the week of June 15 and a … Continue Reading

Congress Increases Flexibility for Forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program, yet Uncertainty about Implementation Remains

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (the “Flexibility Act”) was signed into law on June 5, revising a number of key requirements for loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”).  The Program has provided support to a number of organizations negatively impacted by COVID-19 in the form of loans that can be … Continue Reading

Congressional Pandemic Oversight Bodies Begin to Take Shape

As we reported in our prior client advisory on the wave of investigations to follow the pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act established three new bodies to conduct oversight and investigations on pandemic-related issues. Separately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a special committee to conduct additional pandemic-related oversight. In recent weeks, … Continue Reading

House Leaders Push Ahead with Proposal for Virtual Oversight

Last month, we highlighted congressional efforts to ensure that Congress is able to continue conducting the business of the American people during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. After weeks of halting progress, those efforts took an important step forward this morning with the release of a proposed resolution that would temporarily modify the House rules to enable … Continue Reading

Past as Prologue: The Wave of Investigations to Follow the Pandemic Recovery and Actions that Companies Can Take Now to Prepare

On March 30, 2020, the inspectors general of several major agencies selected the Department of Defense Inspector General, Glenn Fine, to lead a newly created federal oversight entity that will investigate waste, fraud, and abuse in connection with the massive new coronavirus economic relief legislation. The inspectors general were exercising new authority contained in the … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Announces Main Street Lending Program and Other Facilities to Provide Credit to Businesses, States, and Municipalities Impacted by COVID-19

Today, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve announced the creation of four new liquidity facilities and the expansion of three previously announced liquidity facilities to provide credit to borrowers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whereas the previously announced programs primarily targeted certain financial markets and their participants (such as the markets for commercial … Continue Reading

Congressional Paper Hearings: The Future or The Past?

Congressional leaders are actively exploring ways to continue the work of Congress as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.  Currently, Congress is not able to have live, in-person hearings, which are the primary tool for conducting oversight of both the private sector and the executive branch.  With existing oversight investigations still underway—and the recent establishment … Continue Reading

CARES Act Includes New Route to Recovery for Contractors Affected By COVID-19

Contractors sidelined by facility closures and stay-at-home orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic may now have a new pathway to recovering idle labor costs.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act includes a provision, Section 3610, that provides a new form of relief for contractors facing delays and additional costs as … Continue Reading

CARES Act Will Support Internet Connectivity for Remote Education, Healthcare, and Work

As millions of American workers, students, and patients stay home to help combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes funding for the transition to remote life among its many relief provisions. With specific funding for broadband connections, distance learning, telehealth, and telework, the CARES Act … Continue Reading

A Coronavirus Contractor’s Guide to the PREP Act

We’ve covered several topics already this week on the U.S. Government’s varied responses to the COVID-19 outbreak and how these responses will affect contractors that do business with the government, including BARDA’s EZ-BAA for COVID-19 diagnostics, mission-essential services during the outbreak, and how excusable delay provisions may help federal contractors affected by the outbreak.  But … Continue Reading

US-China Economic Relationship

Tim Stratford delivered this testimony before the the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means February 26, 2020: Chairman Neal, Ranking Member Brady, and distinguished members of this committee, thank you for the opportunity to share my assessment of the U.S.-China economic relationship following conclusion of the Phase One trade agreement between our two countries. … Continue Reading

The Supply Chain Security Constellation: Mapping Recent U.S. Government Actions

The new year has already brought significant news for companies that do business with the U.S. government, and for those that trade in materials and technology that represent priorities for national security stakeholders.  Our colleagues in the firm’s CFIUS practice thoughtfully analyzed the regulations implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, and other experts … Continue Reading
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