This is probably going to be somewhat of a quiet week outside of the post office issues as talks in Washington DC have basically ended. There is a small glimmer of hope though on revival as you’ll read below. Also, some temporary measures have been announced with the USPS. As a reminder, there will not be a virtual conference this week as we are going to take the week off in anticipation of last-minute vacations and scrambling to figure out the returns to school.
New Movement on Next Funding Bill
Senate Republicans are planning to introduce a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill, during an impasse in negotiations between the White House and top Democratic leaders. The latest GOP coronavirus relief bill is expected to include an additional $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, $300 in additional weekly federal unemployment benefits until December 27, another round of money for the Paycheck Protection Program and liability protections for employers.
The revised bill, which includes elements of the July Senate GOP proposal, could be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government past a September 30 deadline, according to two GOP sources. Final bill details may emerge by the end of the day.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
With the above said, Congress is still out and talks over another stimulus package have collapsed. COVID shows no sign of disappearing, so where does that leave the economy this fall? Here are three scenarios that could play out:
The Goldilocks scenario: Under the best-case scenario, job gains continue, consumer spending increases, and business and school re-openings don’t lead to drastic COVID spikes. Additional stimulus is rendered unnecessary, and Trump could tout an historic economic rebound, even if it followed one of the worst GDP declines in the country’s history.
The most likely scenario: As the stimulus money starts to dry up, the economy slows. More small businesses fail because they can’t get loans. The unemployment rate goes up, and consumers can’t spend.
The doomsday scenario: COVID cases surge along with flu season, and hospitals get overwhelmed. Wall Street crashes when it sees the economy dip again. Jobless rates climb. People default on mortgages and other loans. It’s not likely, but not impossible, and definitely frightening. This scenario goes to show the massive importance on talks resuming and for some form of compromise to occur before it is too late.
The postmaster general on Tuesday said he would pause changes to the operations of the Postal Service until after the election amid bipartisan outcry, a sharp reversal after President Trump spent days defending the agency’s actions.
“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” Louis DeJoy said in a statement.
The postmaster general said retail hours at post offices will remain unchanged, mail processing equipment and collection boxes will not be removed, and no mail processing facilities will be closed.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to Co-Sponsor RESTAURANTS Act
The National Restaurant Association announced that Sen. Chuck Schumer will co-sponsor the Senate version of the RESTAURANTS Act of 2020.
“As one of the hardest hit industries during this pandemic, we must do everything we can to ensure our restaurants and our restaurant workers are protected, otherwise we will shortchange our entire economy,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “I am proud to stand with the National Restaurant Association and support the RESTAURANTS Act to give restaurants the relief they need to weather this crisis so they can eventually fully reopen and bring back to work millions of workers who have lost their jobs.”
The RESTAURANTS Act follows the reform proposed in the Blueprint for Restaurant Revival which would provide restaurants with immediate access to capital.
Click here to read the full Senate RESTAURANTS Act.
Will County Makes the List
Will County is one of 14 Illinois counties that has been placed on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s weekly list of counties considered to be at a “warning level” (also known as “orange level”) for Coronavirus.
Counties designated as “warning levels” are asked to implement measures for increased testing and contact tracing. WCHD (Will County Health Department), however, has already been active in doing both. For testing, the WCCHC (Will County Community Health Center) Mobile Medical Unit has been participating in both walk-in (open to the public) and congregate settings (for clients and employees of various shelters and organizations) testing for several months. For the latest schedules, go to www.willcountyhealth.org.
Finally, a recent survey of more than than 2,000 state residents offered respondents five different messages and gauged whether they made people more or less likely to wear a mask in public, as compared to a control group that saw no message. Comparing masks to helmets and seatbelts was the only message that had a positive impact on people’s decisions. So, if you are still having issues with getting customers to follow rules, try out this comparison.
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry