NAICU Washington Update

No Deal – Yet – on COVID Relief Bill

October 09, 2020

Once again, negotiations on another coronavirus relief package between congressional representatives and the White House were on and off throughout the week, even as President Trump was being treated for the virus.
The whiplash nature of the news was magnified by the President, who tweeted from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that he would sign a relief bill and urged Congress to quickly craft a deal.  He then tweeted the next day that he had instructed his representatives to “stop negotiating.”  Meanwhile, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos indicated an “education only” relief bill might be possible if agreement couldn’t be reached on a broader package. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Thursday that she is opposed to such standalone bills without the guarantee of a broader relief package.
Regardless of the media and political frenzy surrounding the negotiations, it is still very important for Congress to hear about the specific challenges colleges are facing in light of the pandemic and for college leaders to continue reinforcing the vital need for additional federal assistance. These communications and priorities will be elevated to the party leaders who are negotiating the relief package.
NAICU’s top priorities in any relief package continue to be increased federal assistance for students and institutions, distributed equitably to our sector and not tied to endowment funds, and temporary limited liability protection from frivolous lawsuits.

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