Federal Spotlight: Agreement on COVID-19 Relief Package Imminent

December 17, 2020

Leaders in the U.S. House, Senate and the White House have been furiously negotiating this week as both Democrats and Republicans have indicated they must pass another COVID-19 stimulus package before the lame-duck Congress officially adjourns for the year.

The leaders of both caucuses in both chambers and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are near a deal that could approach $900 billion. Some of the aspects expected to be included in the bill are a replenishing of the Paycheck Protection Program, direct payments to qualifying Americans, an unemployment benefit extension of likely $300/week through March or April, and several billion dollars for vaccine distribution, transportation, health care and more.

Two items that are not expected to be included are funding for state and local governments and liability protections for businesses and other institutions. Those two issues are the most contentious, and it appears that both parties are living to fight another day when it comes to them. Any package is expected to be attached to an omnibus spending bill that must pass by midnight on Friday or else there will be a government shutdown.