September 10 th a Senate GOP pandemic relief package (S. 178) was blocked by Democrats in a 52 to 47 vote that was short of the 60 needed to advance the legislation for floor debate. The targeted package would have included a $300/week unemployment premium, employer COVID-19-related liability protections, assistance for the USPS, childcare and educational support, small business aid, and additional funds to combat the virus, with a total cost estimated to be around $500 – $700 billion.
With Congress looking to pass a “clean” continuing resolution for government funding set to expire at the end of the month, the chances of another relief package being passed before the November election are worsening. Congress’ inaction is causing a substantial amount of uncertainly for businesses attempting to tackle the issue of exposure liability, which, absent federal action, may continue to be the status quo. Republicans and Democrats are still at an impasse over the issues at the core of relief negotiations, as well as the cost associated with such a bill.