Coronavirus Update
August 3, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for state, local, and regional government.
Top News
Relief negotiations over the weekend between Congressional leaders and the Administration appeared to yield little progress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent an August 1 Dear Colleague letter updating House Democrats on coronavirus relief discussions. Speaker Pelosi wrote, “Today's meeting was more productive than our previous discussions, but no agreement can be reached yet. Work will continue at staff level tomorrow. Leader Schumer and I will meet again with Secretary Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Meadows on Monday.” White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Sunday the weekend negotiations were “a step in the right direction” but said he is “not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term." With the House already in recess this week, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) informed Members they will be given at least 24-hours' notice before the House will be called back to session if a deal is reached on another coronavirus relief package.

Capitol Hill.   Please visit our TFG Coronavirus Legislative Trackers public health & safety , local government relief , and business assistance for detailed information on recently introduced bills. 

On Friday the House passed HR 7617 , a $1.3 trillion spending package including $210 billion in emergency money to help federal agencies fight the coronavirus pandemic. The bill covers FY 2021 spending at several agencies including HHS. The bill will likely face opposition in the Senate. In a Statement of Administration Policy the White House indicated the President would veto the bill in its current form.

On Friday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Response “…we feel cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021.” The hearing may be viewed here .

Speaker Pelosi said on Sunday’s “This Week” (ABC) the nation needs to get better control over the coronavirus outbreak before a widespread reopening of schools can occur safely.

CBO estimates S. 3681 (Sen. Markey, D-MA), the Ensuring Health Safety in the Skies Act of 2020, would cost $1 million over the next five years. S. 3681 would require HHS, DHS, and DOT to establish a joint task force on air travel during and after the COVID-19 public health emergency. The task force would consist of representatives from various federal agencies and would develop policy recommendations to address issues related to airport and air carrier operations during and after the coronavirus pandemic.

Administration.   The New York Times reports Dr. Dr. Deborah L. Birx said the U.S. had entered a “new phase” in the fight against the virus and urged people to consider wearing masks at home especially if they live with someone who is especially vulnerable.

HHS and DOD announced agreements with Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to support advanced development including clinical trials and large-scale manufacturing of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 investigational adjuvanted vaccine. The federal government will own the doses that result from the demonstration project.

FDA announced the availability of guidance documents related to coronavirus. The announcement gathers all prior FDA guidance documents in a matrix with docket numbers; copying and pasting the docket numbers in the search bar leads you to the guidance document.

HHS extended for an additional 120 days the designation of scarce materials or threatened materials subject to COVID-19 hoarding prevention measures.

CDC announced provider reimbursement is available to physicians and health care providers to counsel patients at the time of COVID-19 testing. 

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced $180 million in grants to 11 states aimed at “rethinking education to better serve students during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The grants will support states’ efforts to “create new, innovative ways for students to continue learning in ways that meet their needs.” Awardees include Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. The awards range from $6 million to $20 million.
Industry & Advocacy
NACo released a legislative summary of the HEALS Act, the Senate’s COVID-19 relief package. It highlights aid to state and local governments included in the bill.

ICMA reported that state delegations of mayors are urging Congress to provide direct fiscal assistance to all cities and towns.

The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project along with the Aspen Institute issued updated eviction risk estimates showing more than 29 million Americans in 13 million households at risk of eviction by the end of the year. The estimate is based on the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey and conservative assumptions about the acceleration of housing insecurity.
Webinars, Events and Resources
NACo WEBINAR: Community Supervision During COVID-19: Implications for Change
August 5, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

NACo WEBINAR: How Counties Are Using CARES Act Dollars to Support Local Economies and Workforce
August 6, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

NACo WEBINAR: How Counties are Investing CARES Act Dollars in Social Security Net Services
August 19, 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

CRS reports of interest, including:
For more information please contact Mike Miller: (707) 224-8648