Coronavirus Update
May 28, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for towns and townships
Federal Response
Today, the House plans to consider two bills related to federal coronavirus aid. H.R. 7010 , the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 would give businesses more time and flexibility to make qualifying expenditures for loan forgiveness under PPP and allow businesses with forgiven loans to defer payroll taxes. H.R. 6782 , TRUTH Act would require the U.S. Small Business Administration to issue a report on entities that received more than $2 million in coronavirus-related small business assistance provided through the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

This morning, President Trump noted on Twitter over 100,000 Americans have died due to the coronavirus, calling it a “very sad milestone.”

Capitol Hill. The House remains in session this week with proxy voting rules in place; Republicans filed a lawsuit to block the new rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sees potential for another coronavirus response bill sometime this summer. “In the next month or so we’ll be talking about possibly another bill,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

Leader McConnell and many Republicans support private sector liability protections in the next coronavirus package. Although Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) oppose liability protections, at least seven Senate Democrats indicated they are open to discussing limitations. 

Bills and Letters of Interest

S. 3840 (Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)) provides infrastructure grants for food banks and nonprofits to increase their capacity through cold storage, transportation, personal protective equipment and rental costs.

H.R. 7015 (Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)) makes an emergency appropriation to the U.S. Postal Service of $25 billion and requires oversight of that funding by the Postal Service Inspector General.

H.R. 7017 (Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)) allows individual states to approve and distribute diagnostics tests when the state or federal government has declared a public health emergency.

H.R. 7018 (Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)) requires the President to use the Defense Production Act to designate personal protective equipment, all testing supplies and any future COVID-19 vaccine as critical material essential to the national defense. This would direct materials to be produced and distributed to states and territories based on their requests for supplies and in proportion to their populations.

H.R. 7023 (Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA)) creates a federal loan program of at least $1 billion through the Federal Reserve to provide loans to community-owned or private small businesses with less than $35 million in revenue and that are contractually obligated to make lease, rental, or bond payments on publicly-owned sports facilities, museums, or community theaters.

H.R. 7026 (Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)) directs the CDC to award grants to hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers to help perform coronavirus diagnostic testing.

H.R. 7027 (Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)) creates a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund within the existing Child Care and Development Block Grant program to support childcare providers as they safely reopen and operate.

H.R. 7034 (Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)) modifies 2020 Census apportionment and redistricting data delivery deadlines, requires the Census Bureau to submit monthly operational and technological status reports to Congress, and ensures the Census Bureau has adequate resources to achieve a complete and accurate account. 

Administration. According to Reuters , Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) lending has been negative since mid-May, with fewer firms applying for loans and some borrowers returning funds. The SBA approved $512.2 billion in PPP loans as of May 21, which is $150 billion less than the $660 billion allocated to the program. The SBA has not provided estimates for how many jobs have been protected through the program. 

The CDC raised concerns with the accuracy of antibody tests used to determine if someone has had the coronavirus in the past.   New guidance  notes tests should not be used for making decisions about individuals returning to work. The CDC released additional guidance for Restaurants and Bars, Cleaning Disinfection for Households, and more.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs sent a letter to U.S. governors encouraging them to provide necessary access and resources to communications workers during the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment and online access to the permitting process where not already available electronically.

The White House and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the agency will cap the cost of more than 1,750 Medicare Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans for insulin co-pays at $35 . CMS expects plans covering the benefit will be available in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with open enrollment beginning on October 15 and ending December 7.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said in an interview with Fox News he does not believe the $600-per-week boost to unemployment benefits will be extended in any further coronavirus relief legislation. “I frankly do not believe the $600 plus up will survive the next round of talks, but I think we’ll have substitutes to deal with that issue,” said Kudlow. 
Advocacy
The Sierra Club along with University of Massachusetts economists released a $6 trillion,10-year stimulus plan aimed at creating 4.6 million jobs to upgrade infrastructure and another 4.5 million jobs to transition to a clean energy economy annually.  
Events and Resources
NACo WEBINAR - Administering an Election during the COVID-19 Crisis
Jun. 3, 2020 , 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
This webinar will discuss the challenges of navigating an election in the age of COVID-19. The webinar will include a focus on how states are planning for primaries and the general election, a discussion of considerations for counties implementing vote-by-mail, and a look at considerations and costs around personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing related to polling places.
 
NACo WEBINAR - EDA CARES Act Funding Availability
Jun. 5, 2020 , 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
This webinar will feature EDA representatives sharing information regarding who qualifies for grants, how to apply, what kind of project support/assistance will be funded, and more.
For more information please contact NATaT Federal Director Jennifer Imo at jimo@tfgnet.com