While leaders of both parties and the White House have been silent on providing additional COVID relief during this lame duck session, The Hill reports that a bicameral and bipartisan group of lawmakers has been meeting continuously to cut a deal before going home for the holiday next week.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) calls it “inexcusable” for Congress to leave town without providing more relief. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said it was “absolutely essential that we pass emergency relief.” The $908 billion price tag in this proposal is truly a compromise – double Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s $500 billion limit and roughly half of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion.
The relief framework will address issues with the most urgent needs:
- $180 billion in unemployment relief that translates to a $300 additional weekly benefit for 18 weeks retroactive to December 1, 2020
- $288 billion in relief for small businesses, restaurants and tax deductibility for Paycheck Protection Program loans’ forgiven amount
- $160 billion for state, local and tribal governments as a bridge through a foreseeable “brutal winter”
- Short-term federal protection from coronavirus-related lawsuits until states offer their own version of protection
- $45 billion for transportation-related industries
- $16 billion for vaccine development and distribution
- Additional relief funds for schools, housing assistance, childcare, etc.
Passing a new relief package will take all hands-on-deck. You may contact our Washington State congressional delegates to make emergency COVID relief a priority NOW. Washington Retail is working actively with various national partners to bring businesses and workers much-needed holiday cheer.