August Legislative Update: Congress Debates Latest COVID Aid Package

Philip Weiden | July 2020

Legislative activity remains high on the national level. As the incidences of Covid-19 escalate in many areas of the country, Congress is in talks to pass another aid package which, at this point, is far from what either party can agree upon.

One of the components of the bill that is being discussed is extending the unemployment boost of $600 per week. At this point, the Senate version call for a reduction to $200 per week while the Democratic controlled House feels it should remain at the $600 level. Also, under discussion is extending the pandemic unemployment assistance to independent contractors which has been a lifeline for those out of work who normally would not qualify for the PUA assistance.

Another component under discussion is aid for state and local governments. The House has included that in the bill that they passed, while the Senate is opposed, contending that state and local governments should not be bailed out, and should have managed their finances more prudently during the good times so that they would now have more cash on hand. It will be devastating for New York if aid is not given to state and local governments. Local and state taxes will likely rise and services will be cut. This is what occurred during the last big recession in 2008 and 2009.

Finally, the last item being discussed is extending eviction moratoriums at the federal level. Many people are late on their rent through no fault of their own. One way to mitigate this would be to get direct aid to renters and mortgage servicers so both remain solvent through this crisis.

Stay tuned for updates on this legislative package.

Philip Weiden
Legislative Affairs columnist Philip Weiden is the Government Affairs Director for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.