Washington, D.C. Update: Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020

Washington, D.C. Update: Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020

Photo of Washington, D.C. Capital building during a sunsetTuesday evening, the House passed HR 8900, an appropriations Continuing Resolution (“CR”) that extends current government funding levels through the end of Friday, December 18th. Its intent is to avoid disruption of relief efforts while Congress continues to work toward an agreement on a longer-term omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government for the FY2021. Further complicating negotiations is the renewed push on the Hill to pass additional COVID relief legislation. Any legislation to provide pandemic relief or economic stimulus before the end of the year will most likely need to pass as part of a broader appropriations package, intertwining the fate of both legislative efforts. The Senate is expected to pass the CR with enough time to allow President Trump time to sign it into law before midnight on Friday evening.

The bipartisan “908 coalition” continued efforts to reach agreement on the remaining sticking points of coronavirus legislation (state and local aid and liability reform) will garner most of the media attention as the legislative year ends, but the expected final passage of the CR is significant as well. In addition to giving Congress an additional week to find consensus on an omnibus bill, COVID legislation, or both by avoiding a shutdown, the CR included a few potentially notable health extenders as the pandemic is expected to worsen in the coming weeks. Medicare, Medicaid, FDA, and public health extenders included in this CR would:

  • Extend the Medicare work geographic index floor
  • Extend the delays of Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) reductions
  • Extend funding for low-income assistance programs including State health insurance programs like CHIP, aging and disability resource centers, and community health centers
  • Extend funding for the National Health Service Corps and teaching health centers that operate graduate medical education programs

To read the relief bill’s outline, please click here. Becker’s Federal Lobbying Team will continue to monitor these developments as they evolve and will share with you as soon as information becomes available.