COVID-19 Policy Update

2 min

The U.S. House of Representatives is currently in recess, with no return date scheduled. In the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced yesterday that the Senate will pass the House's second coronavirus funding package without amendments in an effort to help the American people without further delay. The Senate has also started deliberations on a third stimulus measure, which they plan to finalize among themselves and then negotiate with the Democrats. The measure is expected to be sweeping in nature, as industries across the board are making compelling cases that they run good businesses and are being negatively impacted by COVID-19. This is a stark difference from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), where some companies survived, and others ceased operations.

President Trump also addressed the public yesterday and outlined new guidance for Americans that reinforces social distancing and hygiene. The Trump administration is proposing a stimulus package that would provide $1 trillion to the U.S. economy. The measure would include more than $500 billion in checks for Americans. An additional $200 billion would be for expanded loans to small businesses and $50 billion for the airline industry. The money for the airline industry is unlikely to be in the form of direct payments. Senate Appropriations Chairman Senator Shelby (R-AL) said today that it should be structured as loans backed by aircraft and other industry assets that could be used as collateral. He said that idea has more support than "grants and bailouts." The stimulus will not include a payroll tax moratorium.

If Congress moves quickly, as they are working to, Americans could see the fruits of the administration's stimulus by late spring. This is in addition to efforts from other agencies, including the Federal Reserve's action yesterday to lower interest rates to zero and purchase a minimum of $700 billion in government and mortgage-related bonds. The present politics are ripe for deals between agencies, the Trump administration, and both parties in Congress. In speaking with leadership in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, Republican members are willing to do things that they would have normally shot down in the past. The coronavirus outbreak has placed tremendous strain on industries, companies, and communities.

Venable's Legislative and Government Affairs Group is advising on Capitol Hill developments and can deliver precise answers and workable solutions, no matter the challenge or situation. Comprising of former members of Congress, senior executive branch officials, congressional staff, and regulatory officials, our team has a comprehensive understanding of the federal regulatory and policy process.