Coronavirus Update
January 14, 2021
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for state, local, and regional government.
Top News
On Wednesday, the House voted 232-197 to impeach President Donald Trump for the second time in just over a year. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in voting for impeachment. The process now heads to the Senate, where leaders will need to concurrently navigate the politics of an impeachment trial, a change of administration, and a shift in power in the Senate. The trial is unlikely to commence until after Inauguration Day on January 20.

President-elect Joe Biden and incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) want to ensure the Senate impeachment trial does not impede the chamber’s ability to advance Biden’s priorities in the first few weeks of the new administration, including the approval of cabinet nominees and another coronavirus relief package. Both President-elect Joe Biden and Leader Schumer have said the passage of another coronavirus relief package is their No. 1 priority.

Today, President-elect Biden is expected to release the details of his coronavirus relief proposal, which is reported to cost around $2 trillion. The proposal is expected to include $2,000 stimulus payments, an extension of enhanced unemployment insurance, money for vaccine distribution and delivery, and funding for cities, states, schools, transportation, and childcare. President-elect Biden reportedly wants to get bipartisan support for the measure.

After passage of a coronavirus relief bill, an economic stimulus package that includes infrastructure funding will be next on Congress’ to-do list. With Democratic control of the House and Senate, the package will very likely prioritize climate change and clean energy provisions.

The United States reported more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths per day on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the nation’s total to more than 380,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to his Senate Democratic colleagues vowing that coronavirus relief will be the first bill taken up by the Senate once Democrats take over control of the chamber beginning January 20. Schumer pledged a “bold agenda” that will start with passing additional coronavirus relief. Schumer, in his letter, also vowed to take up legislation related to climate change, infrastructure, health care, immigration, and criminal justice reform.

On Tuesday, Sens. Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced the upcoming reintroduction of their bill in the Senate, the Direct Support for Communities Act to “provide local governments with direct federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services, retain vital frontline workers, and offset lost revenues and increased costs from the COVID-19 emergency.” Under the bill, the new “Community Development Fund” would be split 50/50, half committed to cities, towns, and villages, and half committed to counties. Reps. Antonio Delgado (D-NY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and John Katko (R-NY) reintroduced the House companion bill (H.R. 199) on January 5.

On Monday, 45 Senate Democrats, led by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Schumer, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar demanding that the Trump Administration provide states with a plan of action that includes new resources and guidance “to fix the significant failures of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution” rollout. In the letter, the senators said the vaccination effort is moving too slowly and blamed the Administration’s failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan. The Democrats said the Administration should have issued and implemented a comprehensive national vaccines plan, including detailed guidance on personal protective equipment usage, vaccine administration prioritization, and best practices for taking the vaccine from distribution to administration.

Please visit our TFG Coronavirus Legislative Trackers public health & safety, local government relief, and business assistance (no bills yet available) for detailed information on recently introduced bills.

Administration. SBA announced the reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and is accepting both first and second draw PPP loan applications. SBA also announced it has forgiven more than 1.1 million PPP loans for over $100 billion.

The Treasury Department and the IRS are releasing the second round of Economic Impact Payments. Approximately 8 million second EIP prepaid debit card have been sent via the US Postal Service.

The Department of Education announced more than $4 billion in additional COVID-19 emergency relief is available to governors to ensure learning continues for students of all ages and at all schools.

HHS made available an outpatient treatment locator to assist healthcare providers and patients in finding potential locations for treatment with monoclonal antibody therapeutics.

CDC updated its Operational Considerations for Schools guidance document.

FEMA announced support eligible state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and private nonprofit facilities with the distribution, transportation, storage, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Eligible costs include, but are not limited to PPE, vaccine storage, and training and technical assistance.
Industry & Advocacy
Johnson & Johnson one-shot COVID-19 vaccine is considered safe and appears to generate a promising immune response in both young and elderly volunteers, according to a trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Johns Hopkins University published a “U.S. County Level COVID-19 Tracking Map” showing coronavirus deaths increased to another high this week, with 4,327 people dying in a single day.

Google launched a $3 million COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Fund to help fight misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine.
Webinars, Events and Resources
COVID-19 Rental Assistance: A Playbook for Program Implementation
NACo Webinar
January 15 at 2:00 PM ET

Fighting Food Insecurity During COVID-19 and Beyond: Key Updates for County Leaders
NACo Webinar
February 5 at 2:00 PM ET

CRS Reports of interest:
For more information please contact Mike Miller: mmiller@tfgnet.com (707) 224-8648