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Prospects of a Coronavirus Relief Package During a Lame-Duck Congress

 

On Wednesday, November 4, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called on Congress to approve a coronavirus relief package before the end of the year. Prior to the election, negotiations over another coronavirus relief package were handled predominately between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Despite reported progress, negotiators failed to reach an agreement on the overall price tag of the next coronavirus relief package. The Trump Administration proposed a $1.8 trillion deal; Speaker Pelosi called for funding exceeding $2 trillion; and Senate Republicans expressed reluctance to support any package that exceeded $1 trillion. Liability protections remain a top priority for Senate Republicans; Speaker Pelosi insists robust state and local aid is paramount for Democratic support. 

During a November 4 press conference, Leader McConnell said, “We need another rescue package. Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election and I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year.” Passing relief legislation during the final weeks of the 116th Congress is not an easy task. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee and senior Senate Appropriations Committee member, said he will “be surprised if we’re able to get a whole lot done in a lame duck session.”

In the spring of 2020, Iowa was the recipient of $1.25 billion in federal stimulus money from the CARES Act. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds allocated $100 million dollars to Iowa’s agriculture industry. FUELIowa was successful in carving out $7 million dollars for the Iowa Renewable Fuel Retail Recovery Program (IRFRRP) which provided biofuel infrastructure investment dollars for FUELIowa members. With the overwhelming response to IRFRRP program, FUELIowa will be working through the Governor’s office to find additional biofuel infrastructure investment opportunities when the next round of stimulus dollars are released.

In addition to a coronavirus relief measure, Congress must keep the government funded beyond the current December 11 continuing resolution deadline. Should Congress pass a coronavirus measure before January, an outstanding question is whether President Trump would sign the legislation into law.

 

From EMA

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