The Senate returned to Washington this Monday following a week break and is handling a slew of Trump Administration nominations for the time being. Analysts are now predicting that Majority Leader McConnell will look to work with House Democrats to pass another aid package by late July. With some Republican Senators stating they will block the chamber from August recess absent a fourth package, and with many unemployment benefits ending soon, it appears August recess is a hard deadline for both parties. Despite calling for a pause on spending packages in April, Sen. McConnell last week said there’s likely to be another bill. The Senate and the Trump Administration have emphasized that their priorities in the next package include limiting coronavirus liability for businesses and a potential “return-to-work bonus,” as well as showing restraint when it comes to more aid for state and local governments.
Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats have made an initial attempt at additional coronavirus aid by passing its $3 trillion HEROES Act in mid-May, which includes almost $1 trillion in additional aid for state and local governments, a second round of direct payments to American households and an extension for a $600 enhanced unemployment benefit. Despite a wide range of benefits, it is unlikely spending priorities in the bill will match up with Republican Senators’ and Trump Administration, so it will remain to be seen exactly which measures retain bipartisan support as lawmakers look to recraft the package. Creeping in the background through all of this, has been the 2020 appropriations process. It is notorious for delays and stalling even in the best of years, and the timeline is already being pushed back as lawmakers grapple with a litany of policy issues. Last week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and other democrats signaled that the bills may have to wait until August for floor passage.
President Trump goes into June with his campaign in full swing and a full plate of policy issues to tackle as we move into the summer months. With widespread social disruption following the death of George Floyd, the President will look to handle domestic unrest while continuing to reopen the American economy. With Coronavirus projections a fraction of the many millions originally projected and states beginning to reopen far sooner than many anticipated, White House economists are predicting a strong Q3 for jobs and markets. On the energy front, the Treasury Department issued a long-awaited rule this week outlining how companies can claim federal energy tax credits for carbon storage.