July 27, 2020

U.S. Congress Still Writing Next COVID Stimulus Legislation

Members of the U.S. Senate were expected to introduce a draft of a fourth COVID-19-related stimulus bill last week until Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that legislative proposal would not be coming.

Instead, the majority leader said members of his chamber would release several separate bills dealing with specific issues during the week of July 27. (As a reminder, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives already have approved a fourth package. It totals $3 trillion, an amount the White House and Senate leaders have said they oppose.)

While nothing is certain, it has been reported that these pieces of legislation will:

  • Extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to allow certain borrowers to obtain a second loan; expand some eligibility to trade associations; and tailor the program to target smaller businesses and underserved communities.
  • Create a temporary and limited liability protection to employers and health care and education establishments.
  • Extend the unemployment insurance program, but most likely with a smaller bonus payment than the current $600 weekly bonus.
  • Expand and extend the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) and make businesses eligible for both PPP loans and the ERTC under some circumstances.
  • Make direct stimulus payments to individuals.

On Friday, July 23, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the next round of stimulus checks will be proposed on identical lines to the previous ones sent in March, and that a payroll tax deduction will not be included in the upcoming package.

Regarding the future of enhanced unemployment benefits, currently set at $600 a week, Secretary Mnuchin said that figure may be reduced to $100 to $200 per week.