March 8, 2021
Congress
  • The Senate approved President Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic rescue plan in a 50-49 vote over the weekend. The legislation will now head back to the House, where it’s expected to be approved this week and sent to Biden’s desk before federal unemployment benefits expire March 14.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representatives Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Robin Kelly (D-IL) and Karen Bass (D-CA) reintroduced the Equitable Data Collection and Disclosure on COVID-19 Act.
  • Representatives Veronica Escobar (D-TX), Juan Vargas (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), Tony Gonzales (R-TX), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) and Filemon Vela (D-TX) reintroduced the Binational Health Strategies Act of 2021.
  • Representative Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) announced the introduction of legislation to restore full funding to the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
  • Representatives Ami Bera (D-CA) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) re-introduced the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Act, bipartisan legislation to provide critical mental-health resources to our nation’s first responders and healthcare providers.
  • Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) introduced the American PPE Supply Chain Integrity Act to help end U.S. reliance on Chinese-made personal protective equipment and ensure that hospitals and frontline healthcare workers have access to a plentiful supply of high-quality, American-made PPE.
  • Representative Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) introduced the bipartisan PPP Flexibility for Farmers and Ranchers Act.
Administration
  • The FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's single-dose coronavirus vaccine and the CDC voted to endorse use of the vaccine in adults 18 years of age and older.
  • NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to "get vaccinated as quickly and expeditiously as possible" and take whatever shot is available when they become eligible rather than waiting to get their preferred vaccine of the three that are now approved.
  • CMS, the Department of Labor and the Treasury Department issued new guidance on Friday that removes barriers to COVID-19 diagnostic testing and vaccinations and strengthens requirements for group health plans and issuers to cover COVID-19 tests without cost sharing.
  • Treasury announced that it will open the application process for the Emergency Capital Investment Program, a new initiative designed to support access to capital in communities traditionally excluded from the financial system and that have struggled the most during the pandemic.
  • The IRS issued guidance for employers claiming the employee retention credit under the CARES Act.
States
  • The Department of Labor issued guidance to state unemployment insurance agencies expanding the number of instances in which workers may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
  • Track 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.
National Association of Health Underwriters | COVID-19@nahu.org