On The Money: Congress set for brawl as unemployment cliff looms | Wave of evictions could be coming for nation's renters | House approves $259.5B spending package

On The Money: Congress set for brawl as unemployment cliff looms | Wave of evictions could be coming for nation's renters | House approves $259.5B spending package
© Getty

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money, where we’ll be replaying this all weekend. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

See something I missed? Let me know at slane@thehill.com or tweet me @SylvanLane. And if you like your newsletter, you can subscribe to it here: http://bit.ly/1NxxW2N.

Write us with tips, suggestions and news: slane@thehill.comnjagoda@thehill.com and nelis@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @SylvanLane, @NJagoda and @NivElis.

ADVERTISEMENT

THE BIG DEAL — Congress set for brawl as unemployment cliff looms: Congress is barreling toward a showdown over federal unemployment benefits, with millions of Americans hanging in the balance. 

  • As part of the March $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill, Congress agreed to a $600 per week boost of unemployment benefits, but those are set to start expiring in a matter of days. 
  • What to replace it with is shaping up into a clash as lawmakers and the White House prepare to negotiate the fifth coronavirus bill. 

“What’s going to happen on Saturday, all the pain, all the suffering … did not have to happen,” Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenElection security advocates see strong ally in Harris OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer | Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee | Border wall water use threatens endangered species, environmentalists say Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer MORE (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, said of the looming deadline.

The Hill’s Jordain Carney has more here.

The cliff: The statistics are stark: 1.4 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance last week, according to Department of Labor data released Thursday, the first increase since March. Roughly 32 million Americans are unemployed and the national jobless rate is just above 11 percent. But a lapse of the current federal benefit is unavoidable. 

  • Because the end of the month falls on a Friday, states would need an extension before July 25 or July 26 to fully cover the last week of July, which spills into August. 
  • And the two sides remain far apart about what to replace the $600 per week measure with, underscoring the difficulty in getting a quick agreement.

The lapse in unemployment benefits comes the same day a federal eviction and foreclosure ban expires, plunging millions of Americans into housing insecurity.

The federal moratorium on evictions signed into law in March as part of the CARES Act is set to expire Friday night at midnight, setting up the potential for a wave of evictions in the middle of a pandemic that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE acknowledged this week will get worse before it gets better.

ADVERTISEMENT
  • The most recent survey by the U.S. census showed that 23.7 million Americans had little or no confidence in their ability to pay the coming month’s rent, accounting for a third of all renters. 
  • Over half that number already reported not paying their most recent month’s rent.

“Communities across this country need eviction protections and housing assistance in order to avert mass evictions and homelessness,” said Rep. Jesús García (D-Ill.). “If we fail to act, recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and the looming economic crisis will be impossible.”

The Hill’s Niv Elis and J. Edward Moreno explain here.

LEADING THE DAY

Mnuchin makes deficit hawks nervous on relief bill talks: GOP senators who want to keep the price tag of the next coronavirus relief package from ballooning are increasingly skeptical that Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' US Chamber asks Treasury to clear up 'serious concerns' about payroll tax deferral Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate MORE will hold the line on spending without close supervision.

Complicating matters, though, is the fact that Senate Republicans themselves are divided over how big the next package should be.

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton and Morgan Chalfant break it down here.

House approves $259.5B spending package: The House on Friday approved a $259.5 billion four-bill package of spending bills for the 2021 fiscal year.

The package included the bills for state and foreign operations; agriculture; interior and environment; and military construction and veterans affairs.

The legislative package passed in a largely party-line: 224-189. Seven Democrats and the chamber's sole Independent joined every Republican in voting against the measure.

Niv Elis walks us through the measure here.

Hot button issues: The package touches on a variety of hot-button political issues.

  • It would ensure funding for the World Health Organization, a body Trump vowed to cut ties and funding for, blaming it for the spread of the coronavirus.
  • It would block the “Mexico City policy,” which prevents U.S. funds from flowing to foreign aid and health organizations that support abortion rights.
  • It would block a controversial Trump administration rule that scientists and advocacy groups say would make it harder for the EPA to use some forms of commonly-accepted science in its rulemaking process.
  • Finally, it would block Trump from using military construction funds to build his signature border wall, and refuse to backfill accounts he emptied to fund the wall using emergency powers.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

American Resilience: The Future of Small Business--Thursday, July 30

Small businesses are fundamental to the idea of America. What steps should be taken to ensure that businesses that really need the help are receiving aid, particularly minority-owned businesses that are often overlooked?  On Thursday, July 30, The Hill Virtually Live hosts a discussion on public and private efforts to support America’s entrepreneurs featuring Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Overnight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier Shaheen, Chabot call for action on new round of PPP loans MORE and Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotHouse Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Bottom line The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks MORE. RSVP today! 

Tuesday:

  • The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) begins its two-day July meeting.
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee holds a hearing on oversight of COVID-19 financial relief packages, 10 a.m.
  • The Joint Economic Committee holds a hearing on “reducing uncertainty and restoring confidence during the Coronavirus recession,” 2:30 p.m. 

Wednesday:

  • The FOMC announces its July interest rate decision at 2 p.m. followed by a press conference with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m. 

Thursday:

  • The Labor Department releases data on weekly initial jobless claims for the third week of July, 8:30 a.m.
  • The Commerce Department releases the advance estimate of second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth, 8:30 a.m.
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathy Kraninger testifies before the House Financial Services Committee, 12:30 p.m. 

GOOD TO KNOW