Happy Tuesday! What a nice day it is. Let’s take a look today about more revolving around the federal funding proposal now known as the HEALS Act. Also, a few items to take a step back at and possibly be surprised at.
Democratic Response to HEALS Act
Democrats say the GOP legislation falls short of providing enough money for state and local governments, fails to protect renters from eviction and doesn’t invest enough in lower-income communities hit hard by the pandemic. The thought is that they’re in a good position to negotiate strongly because the Republicans are divided, and the President knows a bill needs to be passed pre-election.
On the topic of eviction notices, Democrats content that not only do Republicans have no rental assistance for people who need help, but they didn’t even put a moratorium on evictions, so hundreds of thousands of people could be kicked out of their houses next week.
Pelosi criticized the GOP proposal for including a provision to allow the expensing of business lunches while leaving out an increase in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that Democrats have been calling for since March. “They have something in there like a tax credit for expensive dinners and lunches, but no money for food stamps or nutrition assistance,” she said. “Right now, we’re at a time when children are food insecure in our country. People are hungry who never thought they’d go to a food bank.” “If they’re not even getting to the fundamentals of food and rent and economic survival, they’re not really ready to have a serious negotiation,” she added.
The GOP proposal doesn’t include any new money for state and local governments, which Democrats have long identified as a top priority. The GOP package rather provides additional flexibility for the $150 billion in state funds provided under the CARES Act and extends the time frame under which that money can be used. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby said that money could be added later in the process.
As far as a possible extension on the unemployment insurance bump, Democrats say they are not ruling out a short-term extension entirely if it could continue the extra $600 per week in benefits.
Both sides at the negotiating table realize this bill may be the last major piece of coronavirus relief legislation to pass Congress before the elections, meaning it could play a key role in who wins the Presidential election or whether Democrats can capture the Senate majority.
HEALS Act Extra’s
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he wants the $1.75 billion in funding for a new FBI headquarters in downtown Washington removed from the GOP’s coronavirus relief package.
Speaking to reporters, McConnell said he hopes that provision and other “non-germane” items will be removed from the legislation before it’s sent to President Trump’s desk.
“I am opposed to non-germane amendments, whether it’s funding for the FBI building or, for example, in the House bill, whether it’s a tax cut for high-income earners in blue states or other non-germane amendments in the House bill like marijuana studies or aid to illegal immigrants,
So, What Happens Next
RUSH TO GET A DEAL: The two sides scramble to reach agreement this week. That’s not going to be easy at all. One side would have to cave.
GO OVER THE CLIFF: Frankly, it seems likelier than not that Congress will be unable to do anything by Friday. If so, enhanced unemployment benefits will run out, which will scramble all sorts of considerations.
SOMETHING SHORT-TERM: Could both sides agree to a short-term patch — an enhanced unemployment extension to avoid the Friday deadline — and then restart the wider negotiations in September? Remember: there is another action-forcing event in September — government funding runs dry at the end of the month. A short-term deal would require acrobatics.
Fed Lending Programs Extended
The Federal Reserve said it is extending its menu of lending programs to businesses, governments, and individuals to the end of 2020. Originally set to expire Sept. 30, the myriad facilities, stretching from credit to small businesses up to the purchase of junk bonds, now will stretch to Dec. 31.
A Few Things to Think About
- It took airlines 64 years to reach 50 million users, Netflix 7 years, but Disney+
achieved this in just 5 months with the kids under lockdown (Gen Z bonus stat: it
took the HouseParty app just 1 month!)
- The number of unemployed Americans now exceeds the population of Australia4
- More US jobs have been wiped out in the last month than were created in the
past 10 years since the Great Recession
- Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity during the Great Plague of 1666 when he had
to practice social distancing and work from home
- Zoom daily active users jumped 30x in just four months from 10 million in
December to 300 million in April 20207
- Zoom’s terms & conditions are longer than the US Constitution
Virtual Conference this Thursday
Our next conference will take place this Thursday, the 30th at 11:00 AM. The title is “Challenge Accepted! Now What Questions to Ask…”
Please join the Joliet Chamber for a free, interactive virtual conference with Annette Szobar, Independent Associate with LegalShield to help you navigate potential legal concerns caused by COVID-19. Learn what questions to ask and where to find the answers.
- Can you ask employees to get tested for COVID-19?
- What are your obligations to protect your employees?
- Are there any new laws around altering your paid sick leave policy?
Finally, tomorrow we will be releasing an extremely short survey on a topic that can have some scrambling at the end of the year. The State of Illinois has mandated sexual harassment training and we are interested in hearing how many organizations have complied so far and for those that have not, what the interest would be in a group training. We look forward to your responses.
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry