HomeWashington Letter2020 ▶ Senate Leaders Release Narrower COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Senate Leaders Release Narrower COVID-19 Relief Legislation

This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly released a new “skinny” COVID-19 relief package, called the Delivering Immediate Relief to America's Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act.  The bill is much narrower than the Senate CARES legislation released a few weeks ago and does not include any funding for the NIH or research infrastructure or for health care providers.

The Senate’s skinny COVID-19 bill continues to include funding for education provisions and COVID-19 testing activities that are contained in the CARES legislation. The bill includes:

  • $29 billion for COVID vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostic development, and vaccine distribution;
  • $16 billion for testing, contact tracing and surveillance of COVID-19, of which $15 billion goes to states and $500 million to the Indian Health Service;
  • $105 billion in education funding to assist efforts to reopen schools;
  • A $300 per week federal addition for pandemic unemployment insurance until Dec. 27, 2020;
  • Additional funding for PPP loans;
  • Liability protections for non-profits, hospitals, churches, schools, and businesses;
  • The conversion of a $10 billion CARES loan to the U.S. Postal Service to a grant.

The timeline and process for passage of the next COVID-19 relief bill is unclear as Congress is currently in recess until after Labor Day, but it has been reported that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is open to considering a narrower COVID-19 relief bill on the condition that Congress considers a larger COVID-19 package, which would potentially include research funding, after the November election.

Last Reviewed: August 2020