Provided by NLC: Federal Action on COVID-19 – Senate Fails To Move Skinny Bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) failed to pass a “skinny” stimulus bill.

In order to move the bill forward in the Senate, McConnell needed 60 votes, a Senate procedural rule. The vote was 52-47. Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) missed the vote and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted no and against his party.

Most importantly for NLC and its members, the skinny bill removed flexibility from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (“CRF”), which was originally in the GOP-introduced HEALS Act proposed earlier this summer.

The lack of flexibility means that funds appropriated under the CRF would have the same current restrictions on them. Republicans, in the original HEALS Act, provided greater flexibility in how the remaining monies in the CRF could be used.

McConnell worked to unify his Conference by crafting a bill that almost attained the support of all of his members. Rand Paul being the exception.

One member in particular – Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) – did not want the flexibility aspect to be included in the bill. In an attempt to show unity and get all GOP senators onboard, this provision was removed.

On the other side of the coin, long-time champions for local funding including Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) supported the Republican package that did not have funding or flexibility. Gardner made floor remarks recently reiterating his support for additional funding, but still supported the “skinny” bill.

What NLC Is Doing And How You Can Help  

With only a few legislative days left in September, Congress is racing to fund the government and ensure expiring programs are reauthorized. Therefore, the next bite at the apple for another stimulus bill might not come until November, post-election.

NLC is continuing the make the case for the need for local relief by sharing the fiscal reality of cities across the country.  As Senators head back to their states for the weekend, call your Senator’s campaign state director and ask them to send you the schedule of where the Senator will be this coming weekend because you would like to see them.  If they aren’t going to be near you, ask to set up a call. We need them to hear from you.  We need Senators to let Leader McConnell know that they support a deal with direct local funding.

Let’s keep up the pressure. NLC will.