News from Washington on federal coronavirus information and resources.
April 9, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for towns and townships.
Capitol Hill. The Senate adjourned today after Democrats blocked a vote on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) $250 billion supplemental to provide additional funds to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The vote ran into objections from Democrats who have their own $500 billion plan. Among other provisions, the Democrats’ proposal provides an additional $150 billion in direct relief for states, tribes, and local governments, which can be used for lost revenues, and makes lost revenues an eligible cost under the Coronavirus Relief Fund created by the CARES Act. Republicans want to focus on providing additional funds to the PPP and currently do not support the additional funding proposed by the Democrats' plan. If the proposal does not get approved, the Democrats' plan provides a list of priorities and provisions that may be later pursued in a future coronavirus bill.
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO), alongside Reps. Lujan (D-NM), Levin (D-CA), and Malinowksi (D-NJ), introduced the Coronavirus Community Relief Act. The bill would provide $250 billion in stabilization funds for towns and cities with a population less than 500,000 that are struggling amidst the pandemic. There are currently over 70 cosponsors but more Republican support is needed.
A bipartisan group of House members are leading an effort to introduce legislation that would make states, local governments, and public agencies (regardless of employees) eligible for payroll tax credits for the emergency paid sick and family leave programs. The sponsors are currently circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter requesting members to sign on as cosponsors. The deadline to become an original cosponsor is Friday, April 10. For more information on paid sick and family leave programs, see the relevant section in NATaT's summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Administration. The Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget wrote a letter to Vice President Pence requesting that the CARES Act be amended to increase the funding authorized for commitments to the Paycheck Protection Program by $251 billion, as well as authorize an additional $261.3 billion for the Small Business Administration.
The FCC announced its Final Order for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program designed to distribute a $200 million appropriation from Congress under the CARES Act and the Connected Care Pilot Program designed to make available up to $100 million over three years to examine how the Universal Service Fund. The Commission has provided guidance on the telehealth program application process.
The Department of Health and Human Services established a “HHS COVID-19 Awards” website that produces data on the awards made by HHS using the emergency appropriation funding provided in enacted coronavirus legislation.
The CDC has released interim guidance for “Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19.”
News and Resources
NACo is hosting a Webinartoday, April 9, at 3 PM ET on “Caring for the Aging Population during COVID-19: Resources for County Leaders.”
EPA created a webpagewith resources for water and wastewater utilities. EPA also has a general webpage related to the agency’s COVID-19 response.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation provides a “COVID-19 Projections” for hospital resource uses, deaths per day, and total deaths.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi outlined her ongoing support for funding for states and cities during an NPR interviewyesterday, April 8.