House Passes Updated Stimulus Bill
The House voted 214-207 along party lines to pass the Democratic $2.2 trillion stimulus measure. The legislation is a slimmed-down version of the HEROES Act, the $3.4 trillion stimulus bill that passed the House in May. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the measure still too expensive to pass the Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin continue negotiations.
The proposal contains $436 billion in aid for states and cities. U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin countered Leader Pelosi’s bill with a $1.6 trillion proposal that included $250 billion in aid for states and cities. Leader Pelosi resisted the deal, stating the funding level was too low.
Both parties in the House Appropriations Committee are discussing a proposed return of earmarks. This could be a game changer for local government projects since it would create another funding source to complement federal formula and discretionary grant funds. It could also help ease the extreme partisanship that has persisted for some time on Capitol Hill. However, there is no indication yet that the Senate is willing to remove its opposition to earmarks.
The President signed into law a bill to extend FY20 federal appropriations through December 11 to give Congress more time to reach agreement on FY21 spending and to deal with funding priorities after the November elections. The reauthorization of surface transportation programs, which would have expired on September 30, was also extended for one year.