News from Washington on federal coronavirus information and resources.
March 23, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses for state, local, and regional government.
NATaT has created a Coronavirus Update Library on our website to store memos and briefs on the outbreak, as well as critical information and guidance released by Congress and the Administration.
Capitol Hill. On both Sunday evening and Monday afternoon, the Senate failed to pass the $1.8 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act/ S.3548), after enough Democrats blocked the required 60 votes needed to move the package forward. The contention around the bill falls on two provisions: the total aid package that can be directed to the states and the restrictions included in the aid pool created for distressed large industries, CNN reports. NATaT is reviewing drafts of the CARES Act and will be sending out a memo summarizing the provisions upon passage.
House Democrats released their own bill Monday afternoon. The early draft of the bill eliminates the language in the second coronavirus bill (P.L. 116-127), which excludes local governments and public entities from receiving the tax credits for the emergency paid sick and family leave programs. NATaT will also provide a summary of what is included in the House bill.
NATaT is working to include the priorities of towns and townships in the House and Senate coronavirus legislation.
Administration. The Federal Reserve issued a statement announcing emergency measures being taken to support the economy and ensure credit flows to individuals and businesses as the country faces the prospect of a declining economy. The Fed statement also announced support for municipal bonds.
On March 20, President Trump issued major disaster declarations for New York, California, and Washington. This marks the first time that a public health crisis has been considered a major disaster under the Stafford Act. The disaster declarations allow the federal government to do more in response to the crisis, but given that this action is unprecedented, it is unclear exactly what additional activities will be undertaken. Additional resources and guidance from FEMA about the declarations are forthcoming.
On March 22, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the Department of Defense to assist the Governors of New York, California, and Washington by ordering National Guard forces to support coronavirus response efforts in those states. Any National Guard assistance provided to these states will be fully reimbursed by the federal government.
A group of state and local government advocacy groups ("the Big 7") sent a letter to House and Senate leadership on March 21 requesting Congress allow state and local governments to receive the payroll tax credits some employers qualify for to offset the costs of the new sick leave and family medical leave programs. NATaT is sending a similar letter that will outline its priorities, including this one.
News and Updates
The U.S Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced the federal income tax filing due date has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau announcedthat the 2020 Census door-knocking campaign will be delayed until May 28 and the end date will be pushed from July 31 to August 14.
Surgeon General today warned Americans in an appearance on NBC's Today Show that "This week, it's going to get bad..." He is urging Americans to follow recommendations to stay home and do their part to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.