116th Congress delivers relief, funds government in its final hours


Common Ground profiles members of opposing parties who are working together to advance issues important to hoteliers.


The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act) passed in late March of 2020, providing federal stimulus to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on public health and the economy. The $2.2-trillion CARES Act was the largest stimulus bill in the history of the United States. For months, members of Congress and the Trump administration entrenched themselves in partisan negotiations over the scope, scale, and content of a second pandemic assistance package. Having passed the momentous CARES Act, the decision-makers in Washington, D.C., were split – was spending $2.2 trillion too much or not enough?

This division paralyzed Congress for months on end, carrying the gridlocked negotiations over a second round of pandemic assistance beyond even the 2020 elections. Stimulus packages passed in the House were rejected by the Senate, and vice versa. The need for relief was there, but Congress failed to find the common ground. Heading into December, Democrats advocating for state and local funding clashed with Republicans who sought to include business liability protection. America’s hoteliers, like many small business owners, were subjected to the pitfalls of political infighting further exacerbated in a competitive election year.

After eight months of fruitless negotiations, Congress coupled a second COVID-19 relief package with the necessary government funding bill needed to prevent a government shutdown. Both chambers of Congress extended their sessions and reached a compromise on a $900-billion COVID-19 relief package that was amended into the larger $1.4-trillion omnibus spending package. Late into the evening on Dec. 21, 2020, the House presented the resolved and amended COVID-19 Relief and Fiscal 2021 Omnibus to the Senate, which voted to send the bill to President Trump on a vote of 92 to 6. President Trump signed the package into law on Dec. 27, 2020.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
“The signing of the bipartisan, bicameral coronavirus relief legislation is welcome news for the 14 million Americans who just lost the lifeline of unemployment benefits on Christmas Weekend, and for the millions more struggling to stay afloat during this historic pandemic and economic crisis.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate
“The bipartisan rescue package that Republicans in Congress and the Trump Administration negotiated with the Democrats will extend another major lifeline to workers at struggling small businesses, renew major relief for laid-off Americans, invest billions more in vaccine distribution, send cash directly to households, and more. The compromise bill is not perfect, but it will do an enormous amount of good for struggling Kentuckians and Americans across the country who need help now.”


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