Coronavirus Update

March 19, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses for state, local, and regional government.
NATaT has created a Coronavirus Librar y on our website to store NATaT updates and critical information and guidance released by Congress and the Administration.
Federal Response
Capitol Hill. Yesterday, the Senate passed the second piece of coronavirus response legislation, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act ( H.R.6021 ), to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus after technical corrections were made. President Trump signed the bill into law (P.L.116-127) yesterday evening. The legislation appears to exclude local governments and public entities from receiving the payroll tax credit even though local government and public entity employees are eligible for both the emergency paid family and sick leave programs. This provision was not included in earlier drafts of the bill but was included in the final measure. NATaT is working to eliminate or change this exclusion in pending coronavirus legislation. A summary of the paid leave provisions in the package is available here .

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has vowed that the Senate will not adjourn until they have passed an economic stimulus measure - this would be the third piece of legislation passed in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The proposed provisions of the third measure have not yet been released but Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has proposed his own $750 million plan that would expand jobless benefits, help small business, and fund childcare for healthcare workers. Politico has provided detailed coverage on the potential third package here .

Administration. The White House has proposed a $1 trillion coronavirus relief and economic stimulus plan that would include industry bailouts and payments to individual taxpayers. The plan includes $500 billion for payouts to individual Americans that would be distributed via two separate checks of equal amounts - one on April 6th and one on May 18th. The specific amount each individual receives would be based on income level and family size.

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has written a letter to Congress requesting an additional $45.8 billion in FY 2020 funding and authorities to address ongoing preparedness and response efforts. As part of the request, OMB is also seeking to amend its FY 2021 budget request for the CDC, recommending that the agency receive an increase of $1.32 billion above the original FY 2021 request for a total of $8.329 billion.

President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines on Monday to help protect Americans during the global coronavirus outbreak.

The Administration has announced expanded Medicare telehealth coverage that will enable beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from their doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. This will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries, who are at a higher risk for the virus, are able to visit with their doctor from their home, without having to put themselves or others at risk.

On March 18th, the FCC waived certain rules in its Rural Health Care and E-rate education programs that will improve connectivity in unserved/underserved hospitals and schools.

U.S. Census Bureau Director, Steven Dillingham, released an update on operations related to the 2020 Census explaining that field operations will be suspended for two weeks until April 1, 2020. During this pause in field operations, the Census Bureau said that it will continue to evaluate 2020 Census operations and make adjustments accordingly.

At 2 PM ET on March 19th, NATaT is participating in a conference call with the Census Bureau's Associate Director for Dicennial who will be giving an update to the major intergovernmental associations.

The CDC is hosting a webinar to update rural stakeholders and communities on the COVID-19 response on March 23rd at 1 PM ET.
Federal Agency Intergovernmental Contacts
Primary points of contact at federal agencies can be found below:

For more information please contact NATaT Federal Director Jennifer Imo at jimo@tfgnet.com (202) 331-8500