DEAL FAR APART ON STIMULUS
Contractors eying potential opportunities in a new round of COVID-19 relief funding may want to focus elsewhere. House and Senate negotiators are reportedly wide apart on the specifics of any “Phase IV” relief package. A self-imposed deadline of July 31st is rapidly approaching. What that means for the long-term is unclear as self-set deadlines can always be extended. In the interim, however, some benefits and money will expire without a short-term extension, something that even itself seems to be doubtful. The shape of any long-term deal is also uncertain. Money for unrelated projects, such as the building of a new FBI Headquarters, has drawn sharp disapproval from Senate Republicans, making the passage of anything not directly tied to COVID-19 problematic. Even there, however, discussions are at an impasse. It is also worth remembering that House leaders have previously said that there will not be additional funds for defense contractors to pay for previously-authorized CARE Act expenses.Contractors should instead focus on already-identified money and opportunities in their pipelines. Congress may very well decide to pass some sort of relief measure at the last second (either before the August recess or closer to the Fall elections), but that should not be a distraction from a company’s core business, especially during the end of the year. Appropriations will also be late this year, so prepare to start FY’21 under a Continuing Resolution until sometime after the November election.