U.S. Senate to Vote on Narrow COVID-19 Bill
Sept. 9, 2020
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday that the chamber will vote later this week on a targeted COVID-19 relief legislation released by Republicans. The bill does not include new funding for the Provider Relief Fund nor changes to the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, two key priorities for hospitals and health systems. According to a summary, the legislation includes:
- Liability protections for healthcare providers, businesses, schools through 2024;
- Support for on-shore manufacturing of healthcare supplies and new investment in strategic stockpiles, contact tracing and vaccines;
- An additional $300/week in extra, federally-funded unemployment benefits through Dec. 27;
- Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program to allow small businesses meeting certain criteria to apply for a second loan;
- Assistance to the U.S. Postal Service; and
- Financial support for education and childcare.
The measure is not expected to receive the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. Democrats have been united in their opposition to a pandemic response package of less than $2.2 trillion, which they say is a compromise from the more than $3 trillion Democratic HEROES Act that passed the House in May.