Further COVID relief has two ways of being passed in the coming weeks and it looks like the second, reconciliation, is most likely.
Two Ways for Relief to pass:
A full bill is written and then passed in the House and Senate. In the Senate it would require 60 votes meaning the package would need to be supported by both Democrat and Republican Senators. So far Republican Senators have shown very little interest in the sort of robust relief that is necessary (10 of the most moderate of them proposed a measly $600 Billion package).
Budget Reconciliation. This is the process between the House and Senate of reconciling their fiscal year budget. Passing legislation this way only requires a 51 vote majority in the Senate (VP Harris would break a tie), which means it could pass with just Democrat support. This seems like the only way a robust bill is likely to pass.
With that being the case, today Congress took the first step in the process of passing a $1.9 Trillion COVID-19 package as part of reconciliation.
The basic steps are:
Pass a budget resolution that determines which committees in the House and Senate can write provisions into the reconciliation bill. The resolution also provides instructions to those committees on how much they can spend and what they can spend it on. This step is what just passed Congress. Details on which committees are now working on this and how much they have been allotted is broken down here. The committees relevant to unemployment and direct payments are Finance in the Senate and Ways and Means in the House.
The committees write legislation within the limits set above and then they bring it to the House and Senate floor for a vote. Amendments to strike certain provisions can be proposed at this time. The House has announced that they intend to complete this committee step by February 16th. If something is not included in the legislation by this point, it is not likely to be added.
To more fully understand the budget reconciliation process read the CPCC explainer here.
What does this mean for us? It means it is important to reach out to your Congress members in both the Senate and the House and make sure they know what you want to be written into this legislation. It means the next two weeks are a crucial push. Find ways to take action at ExtendPUA.org including new scripts and our latest strategy at ExtendPUA.org/strategy.
We should especially target members of the Finance and Ways and Means Committees. If your legislators are on these lists, please call them every day and also, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you someone in their office to send our PDF on workers' needs to!
Ron Wyden, Chair(D - OR)
Debbie Stabenow(D - MI) Maria Cantwell(D - WA) Robert Menendez(D - NJ) Thomas R. Carper(D - DE) Benjamin L. Cardin(D - MD) Sherrod Brown(D - OH) Michael F. Bennet(D - CO) Bob Casey(D - PA) Mark R. Warner(D - VA) Sheldon Whitehouse(D - RI) Maggie Hassan(D - NH) Catherine Cortez Masto(D - NV) Elizabeth Warren(D - MA)
Mike Crapo, Ranking member (R-ID)
Chuck Grassley(R - IA) John Cornyn(R - TX) John Thune(R - SD) Richard Burr(R - NC) Rob Portman(R - OH) Patrick J. Toomey(R - PA) Tim Scott(R - SC) Bill Cassidy(R - LA) James Lankford(R - OK) Steve Daines(R - MT) Todd Young(R - IN) Ben Sasse(R - NE) John Barrasso(R - WY)
Ways and Means (House)
Richard E. Neal, Chair (D-MA) Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) Mike Thompson (D-CA) John B. Larson (D-CT) Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) Ron Kind (D-WI) Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) Danny K. Davis (D-IL) Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) Brian Higgins (D-NY) Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) Suzan DelBene (D-WA) Judy Chu (D-CA) Gwen Moore (D-WI) Dan Kildee (D-MI) Brendan Boyle (D-PA) Don Beyer (D-VA) Dwight Evans (D-PA) Brad Schneider (D-IL) Tom Suozzi (D-NY) Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) Steven Horsford (D-NV) Stacey E. Plaskett (D-VI)
Kevin Brady, Ranking Member (R-TX) Devin Nunes (R-CA) Vern Buchanan (R-FL) Adrian Smith (R-NE) Kenny Marchant (R-TX) Tom Reed (R-NY) Mike Kelly (R-PA) George Holding (R-NC) Jason Smith (R-MO) Tom Rice (R-SC) David Schweikert (R-AZ) Jackie Walorski (R-IN) Darin LaHood (R-IL) Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) Jodey Arrington (R-TX) Drew Ferguson (R-GA) Ron Estes (R-KS)