NAICU Washington Update

Negotiations Stalled on COVID Supplemental

August 07, 2020

As policy makers approach the target date for passing a new COVID funding bill, the White House and congressional leadership remain far apart on essential elements of the relief package and negotiations appear stalled.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, the lead negotiators for Congress and the White House, have been in regular contact in recent days.  However, reports indicate that they are “trillions of dollars apart” on how much should be provided in this relief package.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to work the Republican Caucus, while President Trump has threatened to take executive action on certain issues like unemployment benefits and eviction protection if a deal doesn’t come together soon.
Meanwhile, Sen. McConnell allowed senators to go back to their states, but did not adjourn the Senate for its summer recess.  The Majority Leader told members they will have a 24-hour notice to return to Washington, DC for a vote when the deal is ready.  Members of the House went home last week.
The good news for colleges and universities is that both Democrat and Republican leaders in the House and Senate have included relief funds for higher education in their proposals. However, it remains important for policy makers to continue hearing directly from college and university leaders to ensure that higher education remains in the big picture negotiations.
With the additional time provided by the prolonged negotiations, college and university presidents still have time to contact their congressional delegation to convey the importance of additional relief for your students and campuses.  The priorities and talking points identified by private, nonprofit college and university leaders were outlined in an Action Alert sent by NAICU president Barbara Mistick on July 30, and a follow up webinar hosted by NAICU.