Washington Update: March 27

Washington Update: March 27

We are happy to report that President Trump has signed the Phase 3 bill of the federal governments coronavirus pandemic response.

With Congress’s role in Phase 3 finally concluded, attention in both chambers will now turn to Phase 4, which is expected to be a House-driven effort. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already mentioned providing additional funding for food aid programs like SNAP and WIC, strengthening worker protections, guaranteeing pensions, and addressing state and local government budget shortfalls as among House Democrats’ top priorities for any Phase 4 legislation. The bill text that Pelosi’s team released last weekend will likely serve as a marker and a good indication of what Democratic Leadership hopes to accomplish moving forward. House Republicans will likely have more say in legislative relief efforts moving forward, though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has thus far signaled that he is not looking to continue on the government spending spree for an indefinite period of time.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have both already acknowledged the need for a Phase 4 package to continue providing relief and stimulate the economy. It is likely that the Senate’s work on Phase 4 will also involve any necessary technical corrections to the newly passed Phased 3 bill as minor errors in legislative text reveal themselves upon further analysis. While the Senate stands at the ready to return to work if it becomes necessary, the plan for now is to remain adjourned for about a month to allow the Phase 3 bill to take effect and analyze what else will be needed. The same is true for the House. While House Leadership has been unafraid to lay markers of priorities thus far, they understand that the legislative process must be more inclusive of their membership moving forward, and that requires a certain amount of time and patience that they hope the Phase 3 bill will provide. For now, much of Congress will take a short breather before the posturing for Phase 4 begins in earnest. Once those Phase 4 negotiations begin in earnest, we will start providing updates to you.

In the meantime, we will be sending out information during these next few weeks on any guidance issued by the departments and agencies regarding all the new programs and funding available, specifically from the Small Business Administration, Department of Labor and Department of Treasury.

If you have any questions or need any information, our team members will be at the ready to answer any question in a timely fashion for you. We also represent America’s Small Business Development Centers and we will be working very closely with them to get you the latest guidance for all your small business needs.

Stay safe!