Congress, White House COVID-19 Relief Talks on Hold Until Fall
(August 19, 2020) On August 13, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that his Chamber will adjourn until Labor Day, dashing final hopes for passage of another phase of federal COVID-19 relief before the fall. Chief negotiators from Congress and the White House ended at a stalemate after multiple weeks of efforts with neither side willing to compromise on key issues. The House had already adjourned pending any breakthrough in COVID-19 negotiations – but now plans to return to vote this week on legislation supporting the US Postal Service.
When Congress returns as planned in September, it will be facing outstanding pressure to act on COVID-19 relief and several other high priority items, all under a compressed timeline. Of interest for clean water, in addition to COVID-19 relief, it is expected Congress will attempt negotiating its 2020 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) package and passing a funding deal for Fiscal Year 2021, which starts October 1. NACWA continues engaging with Congressional staff working on these issues while Congress is officially recessed. We urge utilities to remain engaged with their delegations in the coming weeks to position the sector well in upcoming negotiations.