Lawmakers are gearing up to discuss a phase four coronavirus relief bill

The Senate is back this week after taking a break for the elections. The House returns next week and there is a glimmer of hope they can negotiate a fourth coronavirus relief bill.

Funding for more COVID-19 aid, like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, depends on the ability of House Democrats and Senate Republicans to reach a compromise. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President, Neil Bradley says that both sides of the aisle seem ready to talk.

“We were very pleased to see Leader McConnell, last week, indicate his desire to complete a phase four bill before the end of the year,” Bradley states. “We believe that is the number one priority... we learned the Biden team is reaching out to congressional Democrats with their views on a phase four package.”

He says that leadership has been stuck on the top line dollar figure but could find common ground on popular relief programs that both parties want to see continue in the new package.

“We are bullish on the opportunity for Congress to come together to address some of these challenges, and as I said at the beginning, we have extended our offer to the incoming administration and to Congress to help them achieve these important objectives,” he explains.

After a phase four deal is reached, Congress is likely to turn towards infrastructure as another way to support economic recovery.

According to Bradley, “Once you complete the phase four bill, one of the most significant things you can do to bolster median-term and ultimately long-term growth is making that kind of investment in infrastructure. That’s not to diminish that there are differences in the parties, there are, but particularly in times of economic stress, infrastructure is one of those issues in which the parties have been able to overcome their differences and get something done and we think that will be true in 2021.”

He says that an infrastructure bill would likely include traditional needs, like roads, bridges, and ports, as well as broadband access to improve connectivity for rural Americans.