January 26, 2021

Volume XI, Number 26

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January 25, 2021

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Lame Duck: Will There Be COVID-19 Relief Legislation?

The U.S. Senate will reconvene on Nov. 9 (with the House returning the following week) to begin a Lame Duck session that will last into December. The economic need for additional COVID-19 relief legislation remains urgent, and additional efforts will be made in the weeks ahead to reach a compromise. However, some will advocate waiting until January when a “better” deal can be made. Here is a rough snapshot of where House Democrats, the White House, and Senate Republicans stood prior to the election.

ISSUE

House Democrats

White House

Senate Republicans

Liability Protection for businesses

OSHA standard

Safe to Work Act

Safe to Work Act

State and Local Government Aid

$436 billion

$300 billion

---

Unemployment Insurance

$600/wk. through 1/31/21

$400/wk. through 1/15/21

$300/wk. through 12/27/20

$1,200 Stimulus Checks

Yes

Yes

---

Testing, Tracing, Hospitals

$221 billion

$128 billion

$16 billion

Vaccine Development, distribution

$28 billion

$50 billion

$31 billion

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

$35 billion (plus $135 B left)

$170 billion (plus $135 B left)

$258 billion (rescind $135 B left)

Aviation

$ 28 billion

$20 billion

---

Restaurants, Lodging, Entertainment

$130 billion

$120 billion

Use PPP

Education (K-12, colleges)

$225 billion

$150 billion

$105 billion

Student Loan relief

$44 billion

$28 billion

---

Homeowners, renters

$89 billion

$60 billion

---

Medicaid

$81 billion

---

---

Child Care providers

$57 billion

$25 billion

$15 billion

Tax Provisions

▪ employee retention tax credit

▪ paid leave credits

▪ end SALT cap

▪ EITC, child credit

▪ employee retention tax credit

▪ paid leave credits

▪ increase charitable contribution limit

▪ education freedom scholarship credits

Agriculture

$20 billion

$20 billion

$20 billion

Postal Service

$15 billion

$10 billion

$10 billion

Nutrition

$15 billion

$15 billion

---

Offsets

Net operating loss rules

---

Rescind unused Cares Act funds

TOTAL

$ 2.2 Trillion

$ 1.88 Trillion

$ 500 Billion

Other Lame Duck Priorities: Expiring Provisions

In addition to COVID-19 relief legislation, Congress will decide during the Lame Duck session whether to extend programs that are set to expire before the end of the year. Congress has funded discretionary spending through Dec. 11, along with a number of other programs listed below. A large package may be developed to attempt to extend many of these programs.

Programs Set to Expire Dec. 11:

  • Agriculture: Grain Standards Act and Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting
  • Health Care: Medicare and Medicaid extenders (including Medicaid Money Follows the Person demonstration program; Medicaid spousal impoverishment protections; Community Mental Health Services demonstration; community health centers funding; National Health Service Corps; Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program; Special Diabetes Program)
  • Health Care: Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment reduction delay
  • Income Security: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Programs Set to Expire at the End of the Year:

  • Benefits: COVID-19 paid sick and family leave benefits
  • Education: CARES Act student loan moratorium
  • Tax: 2017 tax bill, 2019 tax extenders provisions (increased medical expense deduction; work opportunity tax credit; reduced beer, wine and distilled spirits taxes; health care coverage tax credit; empowerment zone tax incentives; new markets tax credit); COVID-19 relief tax provisions (retirement plan hardship withdrawals; employee retention tax credit; tax credit for sick and family leave); renewable energy extenders (includes provisions relating to fuel cells; alternative fuel vehicles; plug-in electric vehicles; biofuel producers; renewable power production tax credit; energy efficient commercial buildings; wind production tax credit).
  • Trade: Generalized System of Preferences and Miscellaneous Tariffs Bill
  • Unemployment: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for self-employed workers

Already Expired Programs:

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  • Crime: Violence Against Women Act (expired 2/15)
  • Counterterrorism: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (expired 3/15)
  • Housing: CARES Act eviction moratorium (expired 7/25)
  • Unemployment: enhanced unemployment insurance benefits (expired 7/31)
  • Small Business Loans: Paycheck Protection Program (application deadline was 8/8)
©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 318
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