Ways & Means Committee Releases Draft COVID-19 Relief Legislation

Legislation | February 09, 2021 | by Marsha R. Greenfield

On February 5, the House and Senate passed a Budget Resolution authorizing $1.9 Trillion for COVID-19 relief and directing the committees of jurisdiction to develop the substantive legislation needed to implement the resolution. The Ways and Means Committee released its Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations on Tuesday and will be marking up its bill beginning Wednesday, February 10; final votes are expected on Friday, February 12.

On February 5, the House and Senate passed a Budget Resolution authorizing $1.9 Trillion for COVID-19 relief and directing the committees of jurisdiction to develop the substantive legislation needed to implement the resolution. We anticipate fast action, as House committees release their proposed bills and begin the process of preparing them for votes this week. Senate action is expected in the next couple of weeks, with a final bill by mid-March.

The Ways and Means Committee released its Budget Reconciliation Legislative Recommendations on Tuesday and will be marking up its bill beginning Wednesday, February 10; final votes are expected on Friday, February 12. The major focus of the bill is relief for families and workers, but there are two provisions specifically for aging services. The proposal authorizes distributing up to $200 Million to states and territories to support strike teams that would assist nursing homes during COVID-19 outbreaks. In addition, CMS receives up to $200 Million to contract with the QIOs to develop and distribute infection control protocols. These provisions are also in legislation recently introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA).

Other provisions of interest include funding for the Elder Justice Act; extension of federal pandemic unemployment insurance until the end of August 2021, with $400 federal benefits in addition to the state benefit; funds for child care; and, as anticipated, $1,400 per person in stimulus benefits.

LeadingAge is waiting for the Energy and Commerce Committee to release its proposed legislation. Since Ways and Means has not included increases to the provider relief fund, we are hopeful that the Energy and Commerce bill will address this crucial financial need, as well as address funding for testing and vaccines. LeadingAge has sent a letter to the relevant health care committees in the House and a similar letter to the Senate identifying all the key issues we belief must be addressed in this COVID-19 relief bill.