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News & Press: Member Spotlight

WSW Coronavirus Update - March 23

Monday, March 23, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: TCAA Staff
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Negotiations Continue on Phase 3 COVID-19 Response

While Republicans and Democrats traded barbs on the Senate floor today regarding the impasse over advancing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act -- which is Phase Three in Capitol Hill's response -- there are signs sides are moving closer to an agreement.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set another procedural vote to advance the package earlier today, but it failed again - although Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama became the first Democrat to support the effort, chiding both sides for failing to reach a deal. Negotiations involving the Senate, the White House (including Treasury Secretary Mnuchin) and the House of Representatives continued throughout the day, with discussions continuing into the night.


Making good on her pledge to draft her own Phase Three bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also released a draft 1100+ page, multi-trillion-dollar bill, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.  This measure is more of a negotiating tactic to bolster talks in the Senate than something the House will vote on imminently, but it offers a larger, more far-reaching framework for more sectors of the economy - and provisions in the measure could be included in Phase Three or in subsequent relief bills yet to come. Just one example of such a provision is $100 billion for hospitals and other health providers to reimburse for expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to coronavirus.


While we understand that Pelosi package continues to evolve, a summary prepared by House Committee staff of the package as introduced is available here.


A Note on Engaging Members and Staff

Even as Members of both the House and Senate have received positive diagnosis of coronavirus which has created safety concerns for all Members and their staffs, Members and staff continue to work around the clock, in the Capitol and remotely, to craft the nation's response to COVID-19.


House and Senate Leadership and rank and file Members of Congress are also grappling with issues related to continuity, how to operate safely as a legislative body amid a pandemic, and even the constitutionality and appropriateness of voting in any way other than in person.


We continue to find that Members and staff remain highly accessible to constituents and communities, sharing information, working diligently to tackle the immediate crisis and developing and acting on policy and funding proposals for the near-term crisis and beyond. The enormity of their task can't be underestimated as is their appreciation for constituencies who are stepping forward to help meet this national challenge.

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