Roundtable Weekly
Congress Struggles to Complete COVID-19 Aid Package for Inclusion in Multi-Trillion Omnibus Funding Bill
December 19, 2020

Capitol Dome Stormy weather

Congressional leaders will work through the weekend in an effort to reach agreement on an omnibus bill that would attach approximately $900 billion in coronavirus relief to a $1.4 trillion bill to fund the government until Oct. 1, 2021 – the final piece of legislation in the lame-duck session. Another short-term stopgap measure needs to be passed before midnight tonight to extend current funding, prevent a partial government shutdown and allow more time for Congress to complete the omnibus negotiations. (BGov, Dec. 18 and Deloitte Tax News and Views, Dec. 18)

  • Republicans and Democrats have inched toward a deal on a coronavirus relief package this week that currently includes $600 in direct payments for individuals, $300 for enhanced weekly unemployment benefits, aid to small businesses, distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine and other measures. (Wall Street Journal, Dec. 18 and Roundtable Weekly, Dec. 11)

  • A bipartisan group of US Senators on Dec. 14 released text of the Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020, which is under negotiation by House, Senate and White House policymakers – see section-by-section summary and draft text of the bill.

  • The Act includes $25 billion for residential rental assistance, augmented unemployment insurance benefits, a scaled-down Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – as well as money for vaccine development, supply, and testing and tracing programs.

  • The bill also provides for emergency rental assistance, which may soften the impact of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moratorium that expires Dec. 31.The Act would also extend the moratorium through Jan. 31, 2021. Landlords/owners could assist or apply for rental assistance on behalf of renters.

  • Politico reported this week that state and local funding and a business liability shield would be excluded from the final bill, although talks remain in flux. (Politico, Dec. 16) 

  • Extended troubled debt restructuring (TDR) relief is also currently not included in the package. (Roundtable Weekly, Nov. 13) 

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KT) said today, "I am even more optimistic now than I was last night that a bipartisan, bicameral framework for a major rescue package is close at hand.  Like I’ve said, the Senate will be right here until an agreement is passed, whenever that may be." (NBC News, Dec. 18) 

  • Disagreements continue among policymakers about the Fed's emergency lending programs, stimulus check eligibility and the use of disaster relief funds. (Politico, Dec. 17 and CQ, Dec. 18) 

The Roundtable and 12 national real estate organizations this week sent President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris several policy options for COVID-19 relief, as well as recommendations aimed at long-term challenges – see story below for details. 

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