February 8, 2021
  • The House voted 218-212 to approve its budget resolution measure, launching the reconciliation process to allow Democrats to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan without GOP support, if necessary.
  • The Senate adopted the budget resolution with Vice President Harris providing the tie-breaking vote. House and Senate committees will now have until February 16 to write the legislative language for COVID-19 relief bill under the approved budget instructions.
  • Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) reintroduced legislation to support comprehensive research for the creation of a universal coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic. The legislation calls for a total investment of $1 billion – $250 million for each of FY 2021 through 2024 for NIAID.
  • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA) and Scott Peters (D-CA) introduced bicameral legislation to dramatically scale up efforts to track coronavirus variants. The Tracking COVID-19 Variants Act would provide $2 billion for the CDC to support a robust, national sequence-based surveillance program to protect public health and combat the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, while preparing for emerging threats.
  • Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), along with Representatives Bob Latta (R-OH) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI), reintroduced legislation that allows any healthcare professional in good standing with a valid practitioners’ license to render services, including telehealth, anywhere for the duration of the pandemic.
  • Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA) introduced a bill aimed at providing tax relief to people who received unemployment benefits last year amid the pandemic.
  • Senate Small Business Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Unlocking Opportunities in Emerging Markets Act to make Small Business Administration programs more equitable.
  • Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced two bipartisan bills to address behavioral health needs and substance-use disorders during the pandemic.
  • Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced their bipartisan Ensuring Understanding of COVID-19 to Protect Public Health Act, legislation that would direct NIH to conduct a longitudinal study on mild, moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 to gain a full understanding of both the short- and long-term health impacts of the novel coronavirus, including on communities of color and other diverse populations.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Pandemic Emergency Manufacturing Act of 2021 to publicly manufacture personal protective equipment, prescription drugs and other medical supplies necessary to combat the pandemic.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) reintroduced the Anti-Racism in Public Health Act, a bicameral bill to declare structural racism a public health crisis and confront its public health impacts through two programs within the CDC.
  • Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced legislation to reimburse ambulance providers for services delivered to Medicare beneficiaries during the pandemic.
  • Representatives Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Kim Schrier (D-WA), Kathy Castor (D-FL) and Ann Kuster (D-NH) and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced the Community Immunity During COVID-19 Act.
  • Representatives Brad Schneider (D-IL) and David McKinley (R-WV) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to prevent cuts to hospital payments through the duration of the public health emergency.
  • Representative Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) announced she will reintroduce her legislation to end surprise medical billing for COVID-19 tests.
  • House Ways and Means Select Measures Subcommittee Chair Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Steven Horsford (D-NV) reintroduced the Keeping the Lights on Act to provide federal support to small businesses by helping them pay essential fixed costs during the pandemic.
  • Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) introduced legislation to protect against price gouging during national emergencies.
  • Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA) and Scott Peters (D-CA) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced legislation to dramatically scale up the U.S. capacity to detect and respond to coronavirus variants.
  • The Biden Administration announced that the U.S. will increase its weekly supply of COVID-19 vaccines to states by an additional five percent, providing at least 10.5 million doses for the next three weeks.
  • Johnson & Johnson has submitted an application to the FDA for an emergency-use authorization of its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The Administration purchased 8.5 million at-home COVID-19 tests from Ellume USA for $231.8 million.
  • The CDC posted a webpage titled "Understanding the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination."
  • The CDC implemented provisions of President Biden’s executive order on promoting COVID-19 safety in domestic and international travel and will require the wearing of masks by all travelers into, within or out of the U.S. on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares.
  • The IRS announced that eligible educators can deduct unreimbursed expenses for protective items to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom.
  • President Biden directed FEMA to retroactively reimburse states for the cost of FEMA-eligible services "including masks, gloves, emergency feeding actions, sheltering at-risk populations, and mobilization of the National Guard -- back dated to the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020."
  • Click here to see where states stand on reopening.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released resources to assist states to reopen.
  • CMS has approved over 200 requests for state relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including recent approvals for Alaska, Iowa, Hawaii, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah and Virginia.
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