July 27, 2020
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Coronavirus relief bill a work in progress

The next coronavirus relief package is far from being a done deal.

Negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans failed to reach agreement on a coronavirus relief bill in process in the nation's capital, The Washington Post reports. This much-anticipated relief package will likely address stimulus payments for families, unemployment insurance for millions of Americans, and more.

An estimated 30 million Americans are about to take a major pay cut as the weekly $600 unemployment payments from the federal government expire this month. These workers will continue to receive state benefits if they qualify.

A payroll tax cut that was proposed by the president was scrapped during the negotiations, the newspaper reported.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the Republican proposal would include stimulus payments, aid to schools, money for testing and changes to unemployment assistance rules, the newspaper reported.

He also said the proposal would include liability reform which would make it hard for employees to sue their employers if they get sick at work.

"Democrats have rejected this last idea as a nonstarter," the newspaper reported.

Republicans released details about their relief proposal today, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In other news, lawmakers appear to agree that households should get another round of stimulus checks.

These funds could reach American families much faster since the Internal Revenue Service "now has procedures, online tools, bank-account information and coordination with other agencies that it didn’t have set up in advance when the first round of payments was approved in the spring," The Wall Street Journal reports.

For more information about the federal response to the coronavirus, please contact AWB's Amy Anderson at AmyA@awb.org.



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Stay Safe Washington
Prepare for Post-Pandemic Life


When the mills close, what's next?

By Mac Alexander Macdonald

What do communities do when their chief sources of income evaporate?

"Re-galvanize and reinvent," says Marc Abshire, executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce. But what can we do as citizens to contribute to making this a place where industry wants to locate? What will people in the future want to purchase or acquire, and then how do we attract those companies, while nurturing the businesses we currently have? Complacency is not an option, and neither is hope alone.

For a company to partner with an area, it needs a ready and ample workforce. Are people being trained for the skills needed? Will enough housing be available? Will company executives and workers feel comfortable having their medical needs met? Will all employees feel comfortable having their kids educated in the local schools?

Robert Duvall's second famous line in the movie "Apocalypse Now" was, "Someday this war is going to end." Someday this pandemic will be over, so we need to prepare now. Communities like mine need to lay aside rivalries and attract passengers to their future train. It has been well quoted: When the time for action arrives, the time for preparation has passed.

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times