The Political Report 8/11/20

 In Political Report

Main Story: COVID-19 Relief Bill Negotiations Fail

Negotiations over the COVID-19 relief bill have run aground, prompting the White House to release a flurry of legally questionable executive orders and a round of recriminations from various negotiators. At the same time, the House of Representatives finished moving the second of three ‘minibus’ appropriations bills, giving it some momentum to have all 12 pieces of legislation passed prior to the end of the Fiscal Year in September. This includes the House’s FY2021 Department of Defense appropriations (see table below). The Senate Appropriations Committee has yet to pass any legislation, highlighting how much will need to get done in the fall (either in September or, more likely, in November/December). Unless the wheels fully come off the economy between now and October, it appears likely that a continuing resolution may be the last significant legislation to move through both chambers before November’s elections.

From a defense perspective, the failure of the parties to come to an agreement on another COVID-19 package puts into doubt the ability of the DoD to reimburse defense firms who have incurred roughly $11 billion in costs from responding to the virus. While the Republican COVID-19 package included an additional $8 billion in defense purchases, it will likely be negotiated away as there was no money in the Democrats’ larger legislation. This $11 billion would be above and beyond the $10.5 billion from the CARES Act earlier this year. That money was supposed to support activity through the Defense Production Act and ran into its own set of criticisms. Absent additional action, contractors may have to see if the DoD is capable of reprogramming available O&M dollars to meet those costs, something that will be increasingly difficult to do as we approach the end of the fiscal year.

House Activity

The House is in recess.

Senate Activity

The Senate is in recess.

Congressional Defense Activity

  •  HFAC
    • No hearings for this week
  • SFRC
    • No hearings for this week
  • SASC
    • No hearings for this week
  •  HASC
    • No hearings for this week
  •  SAC-D
    • No hearings for this week
  •  HAC-D
    • No hearings for this week
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