House committees this week advanced legislative language that will transform President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package proposal into a consolidated bill and provide details on aid for states and local communities; assistance for renters and homeowners; and support for small businesses.
- The progress in the House is a positive development that brings much-needed economic relief and funding to defeat COVID-19 one step closer to enactment. The Real Estate Roundtable consistently has urged policymakers to take aggressive actions to combat the pandemic.
- Roundtable President and CEO Jeffrey DeBoer said,” The Real Estate Roundtable is encouraged by both Democratic and Republican efforts to work toward additional economic relief from the pandemic. Given the continuing great need for additional assistance to cities, people and businesses, we continue to urge policy makers to find a path forward.” (Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 5)
- Democrats plan to pass the final legislation through “reconciliation” procedural protections, which will prevent a filibuster by Republicans when the measure reaches the 50-50 Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) yesterday said she expects the House will approve a bill “by the end of February so we can send it to the president’s desk before unemployment benefits expire” on March 14. (CNBC, Feb. 11 and Roundtable Weekly, Feb. 5)
- The House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 11 approved over $630 billion in new tax relief, including $460 billion in 2021 alone. Their provisions include $1,400 payments to individuals; credits for children, childcare and dependent care; and expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. The temporary federal unemployment and benefit would also be extended through August 29, 2021, increasing the weekly benefit from $300 to $400. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 11and Ways and Means Committee mark-up videos)
- The committee proposal – “Subtitle G. Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations Relating to Promoting Economic Security – passed on a partisan 24-18 vote with no amendments. (Section-by-section summary and Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) description)
- House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA), above, stated, “Over the last two days, the Ways and Means Committee has considered aggressive, science-based solutions that will deliver the urgent relief our country so desperately needs. From unemployment benefits to health care affordability, the work we’ve done is substantial, and it is exactly what the American people have been calling on us to do to meet this moment.” (Ways and Means news release, Feb. 11)
- The House Financial Services Committee was also one of the House committees this week that held legislative markup sessions to formulate legislative details for Biden’s pandemic relief proposal. (Financial Services Committee Instructions, Feb. 4 and Markup videos, Feb. 10)
- In her markup opening statement Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) noted, “The package also includes $25 billion to provide rental assistance, including $5 billion towards 70,000 emergency vouchers and funding directed to rural and tribal communities. The package also includes language … to provide $10 billion to support struggling homeowners, who face a looming foreclosure crisis. And, it … provides $10 billion to support small businesses, including minority-owned businesses that are closing their doors at historic rates.”
- More than half of 2.7 million active home mortgage forbearance plans are set to end in March, April, May or June, according to mortgage-data firm Black Knight Inc. (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 9)
- During the Small Business Committee’s Feb. 10 markup, $50 billion in emergency pandemic aid for small businesses was approved. Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velazquez said, “Surveys show that one in three small business owners will not survive the next few months without additional financial support.” (Rep. Velaquez opening statement, Feb. 10)
- The committee’s language would also provide $25 billion for restaurants and bars under a new Small Business Administration program, and $15 billion for “economic injury disaster” loans. (Washington Post and BGov, Feb. 11)
In the Senate, the pandemic relief package is expected to go straight to the Senate floor, circumventing the committee “mark-up” process, due to the ongoing impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, which may conclude this weekend. (Bloomberg, Feb. 11)
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