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Capitol Correspondence - 09.01.20

Senate GOP Considers Adding Child Care Relief to COVID-19 Proposal But Broader Stalemate Continues

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Our members have shared with ANCOR that one of the factors aggravating the workforce crisis facing Medicaid disability supports during the pandemic is that many Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) have to juggle their work with child care needs, particularly with many schools opening virtually or on a hybrid basis. Politico reports that the saliency of the child care issue across many sectors has not escaped Congress:

“Senate Republicans are likely to include a provision to provide billions of dollars for child care providers in the GOP’s narrow coronavirus relief bill, according to GOP sources.

The child care component of the bill is expected to resemble the language in the Senate Republicans’ $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill, unveiled in late July. That provision allocated $15 billion for child care providers, including grants to help child care centers reopen and follow health and safety guidelines.

With talks between Democratic leadership and the White House at an impasse, Senate Republicans began drafting legislation earlier this month for a smaller, “skinny” coronavirus relief package.

The GOP Senate’s current relief package is expected to cost less than the measure they proposed in July, and includes a weekly $300 boost in federal unemployment benefits until the end of December, liability protections, another round of payments for the Paycheck Protection Program and $105 billion for education, according to a draft of the legislation that circulated last week. The lower price tag on the ‘skinny’ bill could win over some Republican senators who were wary of the GOP’s $1 trillion July plan.

But Democrats have already rejected taking a ‘piecemeal’ approach to coronavirus relief, and it’s highly unlikely they’ll support the new proposal.

Senate leadership is whipping the new proposal. On a call Friday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told members the Senate would not be returning next week to vote on the measure. The Senate is scheduled to return to Washington Sept. 8, after Labor Day.


The White House and Democratic leadership have made little to no progress on a deal over the August recess. The key sticking point in negotiations remains the price tag. Senate Republicans and the White House have wanted to keep any next package around $1 trillion, citing concerns about the deficit. But Democrats are insisting that the White House will need to up its offer if they want to get back to the negotiating table.

Earlier this month, Democrats offered to take their offer down $1 trillion from the nearly $3.5 trillion that’s included in the House-passed HEROES Act if Republicans came up by $1 trillion, but the White House rejected the proposal. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats were willing to go down to $2.2 trillion.”