For the first time since early 2020, the dominant topic in the American policy debate is not the COVID-19 pandemic.

With national attention consumed by protests, riots and the state of race relations in the United States, efforts continue in Washington to stabilize and stimulate an American economy that was brought to a screeching halt months ago in an attempt to limit the coronavirus’ spread.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has announced he will seek unanimous consent in the
Republican-led US Senate for quick approval of legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last week in the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives that will make changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the March 27 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Recovery (CARES) Act. Leader McConnell’s move is an indication that Senate Republicans, including Senate Committee on Small Business Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL), have decided they can accept the House-passed measure as written so that it can be quickly sent to the president to be signed into law. Chairman Rubio had previously signaled that he would seek to change the bill to address concerns he had about the way in which some provisions had been drafted.

House Democrats, led by Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), will unveil major infrastructure legislation this week to reauthorize the nation’s surface transportation programs, according to POLITICO. House Committee on Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) has indicated the surface transportation bill and other economic recovery measures are being readied for consideration on the House floor in late June or early July, when they may also become a factor in the bipartisan negotiations that are expected to have begun by then over the next major federal COVID-19 response bill. The House weeks ago passed the US$3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act on a party-line vote, setting forth congressional Democrats’ primary marker for the eventual talks.

Read the full COVID-19 Public Policy Group Report report from Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP.

 


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