Senate introduces ‘skinny’ relief bill

Senate and House Members may be in their home states and districts, but that has not stopped them from being creative and at least trying to march forward.

Currently, there are no negotiations on the larger relief bill that hopefully would include the CERTS Act.

Today, S. 178 was introduced as a “skinny” coronavirus relief bill in the midst of the impasse in negotiations between the White House and Democratic leaders. Released late this afternoon, a quick review of the measure shows that it includes:

  • boosted weekly federal unemployment benefits until December 27
  • another round of money for the Paycheck Protection Program, including a second loans for some
  • an additional $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service and
  • liability protections that have been much sought after by the bus and motorcoach industry.

In addition, the bill includes elements of the HEALS Act and is likely designed to be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government past a September 30 deadline if negotiations do not resume or if they continue to fail.

Meanwhile, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recalled House Members for a rare Saturday vote on additional funding for the U.S. Postal Service and is considering introducing a scaled-down version of the HEROES Act passed back in May.

In an earlier interview, Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a New York Democrat commented, “So let’s save the post office and work together to provide relief to struggling families, businesses and communities everywhere.”

“Frankly, to return to D.C. and vote to protect the USPS from ruin without voting to protect people and businesses from further ruin would be inexcusable,” said another Member of the House.

While it may be too much to hope for, it seems possible the “skinny bills” could ultimately lead to passing a larger relief bill that could include the CERTS Act. Paycheck Protection Program expansion, and the RESTART Act.



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