Stimulus Activities Report – Washington D.C.

Discussions are underway in Congress on a new economic stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said recently that the Senate will consider a new package when it returns from its July recess on July 20. He said that the Senate bill would focus on “kids, jobs, and healthcare,” in addition to liability protection against lawsuits related to the coronavirus. 

The House of Representatives has passed two major pieces of legislation. The HEROES Act, passed in May, would provide an additional $3 trillion toward boosting the economy, including new provisions for student loan relief, rent and mortgage assistance, and an extension of the $600 monthly unemployment bonus currently set to expire in July. In early July the House passed The Moving Forward Act, which authorizes $1.5 trillion over five years for a wide array of measures to modernize infrastructure and address climate change and clean energy. Of special interest to Great Lakes cities are provisions that increase investments in water infrastructure, promote drinking water safety and affordability, increase funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and provide funding for coastal resilience.

The House bills were passed largely along party lines and are unlikely to be considered by the Senate in their current form.  While there is broad support for infrastructure investments, paying for it is a major hurdle.  The White House has signaled support for a new stimulus package, which may generate support for significant new spending. Ultimately, House and Senate leaders will negotiate a new stimulus package, with Democrats leveraging provisions from the House-passed bills and Republicans advancing their priorities.  

The voices of Great Lakes mayors will be front and center as the Cities Initiative’s Stimulus Water Restoration Initiative advances our priorities with Congressional leaders.