Administration Moves Ahead in the Face of Stalled COVID-19 Relief Negotiations

  • by AGD Washington Advocacy Representative
  • Aug 12, 2020
As negotiations over a fourth COVID-19 legislative relief package remain contentious over core policy provisions, the Administration has moved to take action on some outstanding issues. President Trump signed Executive Orders on August 8 that delay the collection of payroll taxes, enact eviction protections, extend enhanced unemployment benefits, and provide student loan repayment options. The effectiveness and intent of these actions is currently murky, as some still require Congressional action, stand on a questionable legal footing, and draw funding from already depleted coffers.

The actions do not address other issues at the center of relief talks, such as a second round of stimulus payments that has bipartisan support, and aid for state and local governments that has been a priority for Democrats. However, the orders may be a tactic to unfreeze negotiations in Congress. The Administration has suggested that one possible solution would be to pass a narrower bill addressing issues where a consensus has emerged, and return to more contentious issues in a future bill.

With many of the lawmakers in Congress planning to head home for the August Congressional recess, it is unclear as to when, and if, negotiations will produce anything before the September timeframe.

Impact on General Dentistry: With many small-business dental practices still experiencing hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AGD is actively engaging with lawmakers to ensure that impactful policies are included in the next legislative package that is advanced in response to the COVID-19 crisis.