As negotiations on this relief package continue in the coming weeks, the Big "I" will provide updates on important developments.
This week, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives returned to Washington, D.C. and began serious discussions on the next COVID-19 relief package.
With House Democrats having already passed their preferred COVID-19 package, the “Heroes Act," back in May, discussions between Senate Republicans and the White House took center stage as congressional Republicans formulate their latest response to the pandemic.
It is important to note that this Senate GOP plan will be a starting point in negotiations with Democrats and that a final relief package may take weeks to negotiate.
As of press time, the Senate GOP package was expected to include a number of provisions including additional direct payments to Americans; additional funding for Paycheck Protection Program loans, which the Big “I" supports; more money for states to improve COVID-19 testing capacity; more than $100 billion to help schools reopen; liability protection for businesses and schools, which the Big “I" also supports; and additional flexibility for states to use the money they were given in previous COVID-19 relief packages.
Among other things, the Senate GOP plan could also include measures that would improve transparency about the cost of medical care. Additionally, the White House has pushed to include a payroll tax cut in the package but it has been met with resistance within the Senate GOP and is not expected to be in the legislation. The package is also likely to include an employee retention tax credit as well as some form of unemployment extension.
As negotiations on this relief package continue in the coming weeks, the Big “I" will provide updates on important developments in the News & Views e-newsletter.
Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" senior director of federal government affairs.