Charlotte, N.C. – On Tuesday, Congress passed an additional $484 billion coronavirus response plan. After many political exchanges, they were finally able to reach an agreement to extend funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and several other causes.
As I scoured the text of the document, I honestly thought I would find more pork stuffed into the bill by Democrats. As you recall, during the last round of negotiations, Democrats tried to pack in slush funds for pet projects. They did succeed in several things.
Remarkably, this bill is pretty clean. In the copy of the text shared above, only 25 pages exist in the language. As you scroll, you can easily see where the funds are marked for. For the PPP, $310 billion was added. An additional $75 billion was added for hospitals and healthcare providers. Finally, an additional $25 billion was added for the facilitation and expansion of coronavirus testing.
If there is any issues to be had, it is most likely in that final $25 billion as many of the funds were earmarked for several projects inside the CDC and NIH. Each of them had to do with research, funding or labor associated with the coronavirus however. I was pleasantly surprised.
While I believe Congress delayed in passing this plan, this is a welcome change to what has been the norm in Washington. With the back and forth rhetoric of late, I really did not expect a clean bill like this. As soon as the House passes the bill on Thursday, the President could sign and small businesses receive the help they need.
This may be as far as I can go with the positive remarks, however. Conversations are already beginning in relation to the next round of funding that Congress expects to pass. Proposals for more money for Americans as well as help for local governments have been mentioned.
Many of the proposals want up to $2,000 for Americans, some monthly, until the crisis is over. Others have suggested grants to assist with payroll for businesses across the country. Hazard pay bonuses for healthcare workers have been mentioned. This is something that President Trump has suggested that he is open to.
No matter what, I’m confident that the clean bipartisan work on this bill is very short lived. Congress will be back to their old selves and battling over the pet projects in the next bill. When Congress may push for the new legislation is up for question though.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) suggests that he wants the Senate back in session before the next round is passed. He suggests that he is concerned about the national debt as they are passing these bills. Without these latest rounds of funding included, the national debt sits at over $24 trillion.
McConnell suggests waiting to see what needs to be addressed before just passing measures. It’s a more calculated approach that many conservatives like myself would appreciate. But will Democrats allow it?
It’s highly unlikely that they will. I expect them to start the media round about the new package within the next 2 weeks and push for additional spending programs. If we’re lucky, maybe AOC will make some more crazy remarks we can talk about!
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