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Bipartisan, Bicameral COVID-19 Relief Package in the Works

Dec 02, 2020
The package, intended to provide emergency relief from December 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021, includes $908 billion in relief funding, $560 billion of which are funds already appropriated via the CARES Act.

On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, a bipartisan group of Senators and House members, led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME), released the outline of an “interim” COVID-19 relief package. The package, intended to provide emergency relief from December 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021, includes $908 billion in relief funding, $560 billion of which are funds already appropriated via the CARES Act. The proposal includes the following items of note:

  • $160 billion for State, Local, and Tribal Governments
  • $288 billion for support for small businesses including Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), restaurants, stages, and deductibility
  • $16 billion for Vaccine Development and Distribution & Testing and Tracing
  • $35 billion for the Healthcare Provider Relief Fund
  • $10 billion for Broadband
  • Provides short term Federal protection from Coronavirus related lawsuits with the purpose of giving states time to develop their own response

The proposal has yet to be drafted into legislative text. There is a growing number of members who are breaking ranks with leadership to push for a relief package. Similar discussions are ongoing on the House side, and there is growing pressure to break the existing standstill in Congress between Senate Republicans’ “targeted” $500 billion relief proposal and House Democrats’ broader $2.1 billion relief proposal. The policies included in this proposal, however, represent areas of bipartisan agreement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled that he would be reintroducing the Senate Republican package this week. A number of CARES Act relief programs are currently scheduled to expire at the end of the year, barring further Congressional action to extend those programs. We continue to be pessimistic about the chances of a COVID relief bill passing in the lame duck period, but it is possible that limited COVID-19 relief measures may be included in an omnibus appropriations bill, expected to be passed in December. ACA will continue to monitor and provide you with updates.

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