Congressional Calendar Uncertain as Legislators Grapple with Next Coronavirus Relief Bill
As COVID-19 continues to uproot daily life, Congress faces the challenge of how best to move forward. In a recent webinar hosted by Fiscal Note, expert panelist addressed what the new way forward for Congress may look as the body seeks to navigate how to tackle its annual appropriations and budgetary duties while also focusing its efforts on coronavirus relief. We are already seeing this play out, as discussion around a fifth coronavirus relief bill are taking precedent even as legislators are planning to move ahead on Federal budget and appropriations bills
Panelists on the Fiscal Note webinar shared that among chief discussions regarding the next coronavirus relief package is a potential revamp to the paycheck protection program. Support for change come from the responses of small business who feel as though they have not benefited from the program. The changes include more flexibility about how the funds can be used for small businesses as well as an extension of the program. Further, as unemployment continues to grow, Congress is looking to incentivize people to go back to work and the likelihood of extending the extra money received for unemployment is slim. Some ideas include bonuses for people who go back to work in the next couple months.
Panelists also shared that the next relief bill will include liability protection for business to help protect them as they begin to open back up. While there are not a lot of specifics of what the liability protection would look like, small businesses around the country have expressed the need to protect their businesses in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak. This will also include state and local aid support to help with the funds lost as a result of the virus.
While the rest of the year is expected to see a slowdown in workload for Congress as many are hesitant to return to Washington, there is some talk that Congress will issue a response to China. Congress is expected to use their mark-up schedule as a vehicle for possible sanctions or a rebuttal to China in response to the crisis Covid-19 has caused.The webinar can be found at: https://fiscalnote.com/webinars/on-demand-second-half-check-in-where-does-congress-go-from-here