Congress in Session: Deal or No Deal on Economic Stimulus

Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

With Congress back in session and the race to the November election on, the question over whether Congress will pass another stimulus bill is on everyone’s mind. Here are the facts about where things stand this afternoon (Wednesday, Sept. 16). These items are changing rapidly.

The House passed its version of a stimulus bill in late May known as the HEROs Act, which has a price tag of $3 trillion. The Senate has failed to pass a consensus bill and attempted to pass a paired down bill last week which has only GOP support.

Meanwhile, the House/Senate “Problem Solvers Caucus,” a bi-partisan/equal party group dedicated to providing consensus-driven policy, introduced its own $1.5 trillion proposal yesterday, which was dismissed by both parties and their leadership. Additionally, this morning the President issued a tweet stating he wants a deal, with stimulus checks as the focal point of the package. Shortly thereafter, two Senate Republican leaders suggested different comfort levels within their caucus on a price tag ranging from $1 trillion to upwards of $1.5 trillion.

As widely reported in the news media, the discussions are ranging on a variety of items to include:

  • Another round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds, with eligibility limitations and restrictions, which have not yet been fully defined.
  • An extension of unemployment benefits. Specific levels are unknown; however, it has been reported that California’s extra benefit under the President’s Executive Order will run out shortly. Nevada has been awaiting approval for the additional benefit.
  • Another round of stimulus checks, with eligibility details still to be determined.
  • Funds for state and local governments to offset loss of revenues.

These are the big-picture items being discussed between the House Speaker, the White House and Treasury Secretary, and the Senate Leaders. While leadership is focused on the larger pieces, there is a question if/of smaller items, such as whether CARES Act extenders will be included.

The Leagues and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) continue to push for credit union and banking-specific items such as:

  • Extending the Troubled Debt Restructuring language in the CARES Act at least six months, if not more (additional extenders needed as well).
  • Providing relief for PPP loans under $150,000 (with an attestation of the borrower).
  • Allowing credit unions a one-year safe harbor from the member business lending cap to aid local business owners.

The situation in Washington, D.C. remains incredibly fluid as the pressures continue to mount. Please stay tuned to the Leagues for more details as they occur.

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