Congress Weighs Next Steps on COVID-19 Relief

(May 28, 2020) – Since the U.S. House’s passage earlier this month of its next phase of COVID-19 relief, the Heroes Act, Congressional action has slowed on reaching bipartisan agreement for a new legislative package.

The U.S. Senate leadership has made clear that it will not vote on the Heroes Act in its current form. Some Republican Senate leaders as well as rank-and-file members, however, have indicated an openness to some additional federal relief and are considering how to proceed on subsequent phases by monitoring the recovery from the economic fallout including unemployment numbers, public sentiment as we enter an election cycle, and the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19 in the coming months.  While action on further COVID-19 relief efforts is anticipated, the timeline seems to be slowing and may stretch into the Summer or Fall with the awareness that this schedule could change quickly. 

In line with this evolving and fluid situation,  it is critical that NACWA members continue to  stay engaged as NACWA builds support for direct relief for clean water agencies, assistance for water and sewer ratepayers, support for hazard pay for essential workers, and changes to finance and funding policies that will  benefit utilities, ensure their eligibility for broader municipal funding programs and restore useful programs, including advance refunding.

Over the coming weeks, NACWA expects the Senate will be evaluating countless provisions for potential incorporation into its next relief bill, which would ultimately need to be conferenced with the House’s Heroes Act.

Stakeholder engagement continues to be timely and vital and NACWA urges all clean water agencies to engage with their Congressional delegations, whether for the first time or to circle back on earlier and ongoing communications. Contact Kristina Surfus or Jason Isakovic to discuss further.