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Senate Introduces ‘Skinny’ Coronavirus Relief Bill

Senate and House Members may be in their home states and districts, but that has not stopped them from being creative and at least trying to march forward.

Currently, there are no negotiations on the larger relief bill that hopefully would include the Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act.

On Aug. 18, S. 178 was introduced as a “skinny” coronavirus relief bill in the midst of the impasse in negotiations between the White House and Democratic leaders. Released late in the afternoon, a quick review of the measure shows that it includes:

    • Boosted weekly federal unemployment benefits until Dec. 27.
    • Another round of money for the Paycheck Protection Program, including a second loan for some.
    • An additional $10 billion for the U.S. Postal Service.
      liability protections that have been much sought after by the bus and motorcoach industry.
    • In addition, the bill includes elements of the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS Act) and is likely designed to be attached to a continuing resolution to fund the government past a Sept. 30 deadline if negotiations do not resume or if they continue to fail.

Related: NTSB on Getting Back to School Safely
Related: NHTSA Permits Installation of School Bus Barriers to Separate Drivers, Students
Related: Publicity Campaign Touts School Bus Benefits, Expertise of Industry Amid COVID-19
Related: COVID-19 Adds Challenges to Task of Transporting the Most Vulnerable Passengers

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has recalled House Members for a rare Saturday vote on additional funding for the U.S. Postal Service and is considering introducing a scaled-down version of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES Act) passed back in May.

In an earlier interview, Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a New York Democrat commented, “So let’s save the post office and work together to provide relief to struggling families, businesses and communities everywhere.”

“Frankly, to return to D.C. and vote to protect the USPS from ruin without voting to protect people and businesses from further ruin would be inexcusable,” said another member of the House.

While it may be too much to hope for, it seems possible the “skinny bills” could ultimately lead to passing a larger relief bill that could include the CERTS Act. Paycheck Protection Program expansion, and the Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards A Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act.

Editor’s Note: Reprinted with permission from Bus & Motorcoach News. Read the original post at

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