Coronavirus Update
April 20, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for state, local, and regional government.
Federal Response
Capitol Hill. The White House and Congress are close to finalizing a deal on an interim coronavirus response bill. The legislation is expected to include up to $500 billion in additional aid for small businesses, hospitals, and testing initiatives. Additional financial relief for states and local governments is not expected to be included in the agreement, but reports suggest the provisions may still be on the table. A fix to provide paid family and sick leave reimbursement to public employers is also not expected to be included in the legislation.

The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation before the House, but the timing for the votes is still unclear. On Sunday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told House Members they should be prepared to return to Washington for a recorded vote on the legislation as soon as Wednesday.

In addition, the congressional nominations for a five-person committee charged with overseeing the Administration's implementation of the CARES Act are almost complete, with three confirmed nominations so far. Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate were each charged with naming one member of the panel. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tapped Sen. Toomey (R-PA), House Minority Leader McCarthy (R-CA) selected Rep. Hill (R-AR), and Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) nominated Rep. Shalala (D-FL). The Chair of the panel will be selected in a joint decision by Senate Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Pelosi.

Bills and Letters of Interest

  • Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and three other Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Treasury Department requesting data on the PPP and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Grant Program. 
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and 31 others Senate Democrats sent a letter to Majority Leader McConnell and Secretary Mnuchin regarding state, local, and tribal government support. 
  • Chairs of several House Committees called on Congress to send $4 billion to states to allow for mail-in voting and other efforts to conduct elections during the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Sen. Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) indicated plans to introduce bipartisan legislation to create a $500 billion fund to assist states and local governments as they respond to the current public health and economic crisis. 
  • Sen. Cantwell (D-WA) and three other Senators sent a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership regarding future COVID-19 legislation make local newspapers, TV, and radio stations eligible for small business assistance under the PPP. 

Administration. President Trump announced that the Administration will use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to direct a company to increase production of the much-needed swabs for coronavirus testing. Trump did not name the company. The DPA allows the federal government to direct production and distribution of goods in an emergency. 
NLC, NACo, and the USCM sent a joint letter to the Administration and Congressional leaders advocating for local and regional government relief. All three organizations issued urgent calls to action over the weekend including a NACo emergency call . However, as noted above, it is unlikely city and county relief will be included in upcoming coronavirus response legislation. 
News and Resources
NACo released an informative issue brief on April 17 detailing the impacts of COVID-19 on county finances. 
Federal Agency Intergovernmental Contacts
Primary points of contact at federal agencies can be found below:

For more information please contact Zachary Israel (202) 256-4386