DC Tax Flash: Government Funding Bill Clears Senate in Shadow of Virus Relief Talks

Tax Alert

As administration officials and congressional leaders make a last-ditch effort to find agreement on a pre-election virus relief bill, the Senate today approved legislation (H.R. 8337) that will keep the government funded through December 11, 2020. The continuing resolution passed on a bipartisan 84-10 vote.

​With the funding bill headed to the president for signing this evening, all eyes are on the negotiations currently underway between Congress and the White House on virus relief legislation. In the event those talks collapse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is poised to act on a revised $2.2 trillion version of the House-passed Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act. 

Earlier today, the Speaker announced that the House would vote tonight on the partisan virus relief bill "in order to formalize our proffer to Republicans in the negotiations." However, that vote was later postponed to allow further negotiations with the White House. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressed cautious optimism today about the chances for reaching an agreement, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made it clear that major differences remain. Absent a quick breakthrough, negotiations could consume the rest of the week.  

The text of the updated version of the Heroes Act is posted here. A section-by-section summary is posted here

A brief Congressional Research Service summary of the continuing resolution set for signing tonight follows.

Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act 

This bill provides continuing FY2021 appropriations to federal agencies through December 11, 2020, and extends several programs. 

It is known as a continuing resolution (CR) and prevents a government shutdown that would otherwise occur if the FY2021 appropriations bills have not been enacted when FY2021 begins on October 1, 2020. 

The CR funds most programs and activities at the FY2020 levels with several exceptions that provide funding flexibility and additional appropriations to various programs.

In addition, the bill extends several authorities and programs, including:

  • surface transportation programs;
  • public health, Medicare, and Medicaid authorities and programs;
  • several authorities related to veterans benefits; 
  • authorities to waive certain requirements for nutrition programs;
  • the National Flood Insurance Program; 
  • the Appalachian Regional Commission;
  • the U.S. Parole Commission;
  • the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program; and
  • several authorities related to immigration.

The bill also includes provisions that:

  • accelerate reimbursements to the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for net realized losses to allow the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue making certain payments to farmers;
  • prohibit USDA from using CCC funds to provide payments or support to fossil fuel refiners and importers;
  • expand nutrition assistance programs:
  • increase and expand U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fees for providing premium processing services for certain immigration-related applications; and
  • reauthorize a program that provides incentives (e.g., limitations on civil liability) for corporations to self-report antitrust violations to the Department of Justice.

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