Government Funding Extended While COVID-19 Relief Talks Break Down; Congress Adjourns Until November
(October 7, 2020) – After passage last week by the U.S. House of an updated and “pared-down” HEROES Act COVID-19 relief package, which once again included $1.5 billion in aid to water and sewer utilities to assist low-income ratepayers impacted by the pandemic, talks have stalled again with the White House and U.S. Senate on agreeing to a final package.
The updated HEROES Act, which passed along a mostly Democratic majority party-line vote, still comes at a price tag of $2.2 trillion - a level at which the Republican Majority led Senate, as well as the White House, believes is too high.
Aside from the potential Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Congress is adjourned until after the November elections, and at this time it appears unlikely they will return to Washington to vote on any further COVID-19 relief legislation.
Also last week, Congress passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown and fund all federal agencies, including EPA, at current spending levels until December 11th.
NACWA and its water sector partners will continue working closely with Congress to ensure that direct assistance for water and wastewater utilities is included in any future COVID-19 relief legislation, as well as ensure any final fiscal year (FY) 2021 appropriations package in December or beyond includes strong federal funding for clean water.
NACWA also strongly encourages all members to continue advocating both of these important messages to their Senators and Representatives as well.