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Advocacy & Policy Update - September 14, 2020




Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have tentatively come to an agreement for a ‘clean’ continuing resolution (CR) that drags out current funding while negotiations continue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) also expressed support for a stopgap bill through December to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month. It is highly likely that once a stopgap bill is passed, lawmakers will depart Washington to campaign in their home states. It seems that both Republicans and Democrats are willing to head into the November elections without passing a final coronavirus relief bill. 

Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

On Thursday, September 10, Senate Democrats, on a 52-47 vote, blocked a $500 billion Republican coronavirus bill that includes $300 per week in extra unemployment insurance, liability protections for employers that reopen during the pandemic, and a two-year tax credit for school choice, among other things. This is the first coronavirus-related legislation the Senate has voted on since it passed the $484 billion package in April.

For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) the vote was a symbolic win after spending weeks negotiating with Republicans and the Administration to pare-down and move forward with legislation. Last month McConnell predicted that up to 20 Republican Senators wouldn’t vote for any additional legislation and Senator Rand Paul (KY) was the only GOP Senator to vote against the bill on Thursday. The bill failed, however, to get the 60 votes needed to overcome Thursday’s procedural hurdle as congressional Democratic leadership and the White House remained at a standoff over the final stimulus package.

Party leaders and the Administration remain far apart on the funding amount for the package as well as policy issues, such as unemployment insurance and money for state and local governments. Last week, a group of more than 100 national and state organizations signed a letter urging Congressional leadership to negotiate a coronavirus relief package.

Click here to read the letter to Congress from national and state organizations.

RESTART Act On Thursday, September 10, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz sent Congressional leaders a letter signed by 8,700 business owners advocating for the Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act, a bi-partisan bill introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (CO) and Todd Young (IN). The legislation supports small and mid-size businesses most affected by the pandemic by extending the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and providing flexibility needed to utilize the PPP effectively.  The bill also creates a loan program to provide funding to jump-start the hardest-hit businesses for the remainder of 2020 and provides loan forgiveness as a backstop against ongoing economic challenges.

Click here to read the full letter.

Click here to learn more about the RESTART Act.

Initial Jobless Claims

In the week ending September 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 884,000, unchanged from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised up by 3,000 from 881,000 to 884,000. The 4- week moving average was 970,750, a decrease of 21,750 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised up by 750 from 991,750 to 992,500. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 9.2 percent for the week ending August 29, an increase of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week's unrevised rate.

Click here to read the full report.

Click here to read the entire September 14 weekly legislative update.

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