The planned vote on marijuana legalization bill, which was scheduled for next week, is now postponed until further notice. Democrats in the House of Representatives arrived at this decision after a backlash from their fellow moderate Democrats.
The vote on MORE Act postponed
The MORE Act legislation, which sought to legalize marijuana at the federal level and delete some cannabis-related criminal records, will now have to wait until after the election for the House to vote on it. According to reliable sources, legislators embroiled in tough re-election contests wanted the House to pass COVID-19 relief first before they act on the marijuana legalization bill.
The House is focused relentlessly on securing agreement to stave off a damaging government shutdown and continuing to do its job addressing the COVID-19 pandemic,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. In the same statement, Steny added that the House would pass the MORE Act “later this autumn.
With the election just a few weeks away, Congress has to work a little bit faster, especially in its session to pass the COVID-19 law and bills to keep the government-funded. The House is scheduled to remain in session until October 2, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised it would remain in session until lawmakers can broker a deal on COVID-19 relief.
On the other hand, the Senate is scheduled to remain in session until October 9, after which there is no schedule for the two chambers to return until after Election Day.
Extending government funding
Earlier this month, Pelosi and the Trump administration brokered an informal deal to extend government funding at the current operating levels. It’s still not clear how long the bills will extend to, and whether the funding bills will have any other legislation attached to them.
Currently, leaders from both sides of the aisle have said they don’t want to add COVID-19 relief funding to the spending bills. The government is expected to shut down on September 30, unless Congress clears a continuing resolution and the president signs off. According to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the House would think about stopgap government funding legislation next week.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said talks over government funding were “going quite well.”
I don’t think anybody wants to be responsible for shutting down the government on the eve of an election in the middle of a pandemic, so it’s a rare outbreak of common sense on both sides, Rep. Cole said.
However, Cole acknowledged there was still disparity over the extension of government funding through December, or until February or March when a new Congress would be in place after the election.