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Republicans Offer Skinny Virus Relief Bill

However, Senate leaders remain uncertain about its future

Senate Republicans floated another skinny COVID-19 relief package this week that is unlikely to coax House Democrats back to the negotiating table. The draft legislation is similar to the $1 trillion HEALS Act that Republicans introduced at the end of July as a counter-offer to the $3.5 trillion HEROES Act that the House passed several months ago.

The skinny version includes a $300 per-week boost to unemployment benefits, more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service, $15 billion shy of what the service needs, and liability protections for businesses against COVID-19 lawsuits.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not announced any plans to call senators back from recess to vote on the measure. However, it is possible the proposal could get attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government that Congress will need to pass before Sept. 30 to avoid a shutdown.

Speaking to reporters this week, McConnell offered no assurances that Democrats would warm to the latest offer from Senate Republicans.

“I can’t tell you with certainty we’re going to reach an agreement,” he said.

While Republicans and Democrats remain far apart on a relief measure, OSAE and ASAE continue to urge Congress to extend the PPP and expand eligibility for PPP loans to 501(c)(6) nonprofit associations. Strengthening the PPP is one of the most agreed upon aspects of the next package, and there is support for a bill offered by Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) that would restart the PPP, allow businesses to apply for second loans, reduce paperwork requirements for loan forgiveness applications and expand eligibility for PPP loans to 501(c)(6) organizations.

At the national level, ASAE staff remain in discussions with key congressional offices about employee caps and lobbying restriction language in that proposal. We encourages ASAE members who are concerned about the language to write their legislators directly through ASAE’s grassroots portal.

This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.

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