Congress Returns From August Recess

Written By: Hannah Yale

Congress returned from its month-long recess on September 8 with a packed agenda. The House and the Senate only have several weeks left before the November election to tackle topics like COVID-19 financial relief, legalization of marijuana and the U.S. Postal Service. 

Since the first round of stimulus checks went out in April, congressional leaders have been unable to reach a bipartisan compromise on providing further relief to Americans financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Many lawmakers and members of the public are skeptical that another deal will be reached anytime soon.

The House of Representatives plans to vote on the MORE Act for the federal legalization of marijuana during the week of September 21. Marijuana is currently listed on the federal list of controlled substances as a Schedule-One drug. The MORE Act would remove marijuana from the controlled substances list and expunge some marijuana-related criminal records, however, individual states would still be in charge of passing their own regulations regarding the sale of marijuana. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., told USA TODAY earlier this month that it is likely that the MORE Act will pass in the House, but it is doubtful that it will make progress in the Senate.

U.S. Senators, Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey, recently released the results of their investigation into the changes to the Postal Service, implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Their investigation shows that his policies have caused “significant delays” in the delivery of mail-order prescriptions. These delays pose severe health risks to millions of Americans and put seniors and those with pre-existing conditions in serious danger. The delays in USPS delivery also pose a potential threat to the upcoming election, as a significantly higher number of voters will be mailing their ballots because of COVID-19.

Congress must pass a continuing resolution to fund the government and have it signed by the President by September 30 to avoid a government shutdown. If a continuing resolution does not pass by the deadline, the U.S. could sink even deeper into financial crisis and societal chaos as the coronavirus remains uncontrolled.

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