Coronavirus Update
June 11, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for state, local, and regional government.
Top News
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surpassed 2 million. It took three months for the U.S. to reach 1 million confirmed cases in late April but just six weeks to double the number.

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced it would maintain the baseline interest rate range of 0 to 0.25 percent set on March 15 and expects to keep rates steady until at least 2022.

The Federal Reserve Board is expanding its Main Street Lending Program to allow more small and medium-sized businesses to receive support. The Board lowered the minimum loan amount, raised the maximum loan limit, adjusted the principal repayment schedule to begin after two years, and extended the term to five years.

The Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration announced a new interim final rule for the Paycheck Protection Program. PPP loans will be forgiven provided the employer uses at least 60% of the loan amount for payroll; the initial rule required no less than 75% to be aimed at payroll. Also, employers are still eligible to receive partial loan forgiveness even if payroll expenditures do not hit 60%. The PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Form is here . According to the NY Times , approximately $130 billion in PPP funding remains unused as of June 10; the application period closes on June 30. In a related story, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicated openness to the idea of repurposing leftover PPP funds to assist small businesses hurt by recent looting.

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.

Reps. Tom Reed (R-NY) and Scott Peters (D-CA) sent a letter to HHS Secretary Azar requesting the Department distribute a portion of the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to clinical laboratories that are expanding testing capacity.

Rep. Tom Reed also led a letter to the Treasury Department encouraging the Federal Reserve to expand eligibility for the Municipal Liquidity Facility by further lowering population thresholds.

The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Trump Administration asking for a list of deregulatory actions being taken to bolster the economy during the pandemic by June 19. The letter comes after the May executive order from President Trump directing agencies to “identify regulatory standards that may inhibit economic recovery” and to “permanently or temporarily cut any regulation they deem necessary.”

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led 18 colleagues in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue expressing concerns about the lack of access to healthy, affordable food for low-income communities and communities of color during the pandemic. The Senators urged Secretary Perdue to identify and prioritize programs at USDA intended to minimize food deserts and support local and regional food development projects. 

Hearings

There are numerous hearings this week, including:


Administration. In a 3-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission clarified its wireless infrastructure rules pertaining to the timeline for local government review of wireless applications and modifications to equipment height and cabinet additions, concealment elements, and other aesthetic conditions. The Commission adopted auction procedures to distribute up to $16 billion in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I support. 

The Director of the Vaccine Research Center told the Wall Street Journal the trials for a coronavirus vaccine are set to begin in July and will involve about 30,000 people.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced $2.96 billion in Emergency Solutions Grants supporting homeless or individuals at risk of becoming homeless because of hardships such as job loss, wage reduction, or illness due to COVID-19. A link to a spreadsheet with all HUD CARES Act funding is here .

The Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions announced new resources for innovators to combat COVID-19 through its Lab Partnering Service (LPS) and the COVID-19 Technical Assistance Program (CTAP).

FEMA announced the Emergency Food and Shelter Program will begin disbursing $320 million to assist organizations in communities across the country dedicated to providing food, shelter and supportive services to people with economic emergencies. A state-by-state list of the qualifying jurisdictions and award amount is available here .

FEMA also released the Mass Care/Emergency Assistance Pandemic Planning Considerations guide providing information on sheltering, feeding, evacuation and the federal resource request process for future pandemic planning.

HHS announced a $15 billion distribution to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers participating in state Medicaid and CHIP programs. HHS also announced $10 billion will be distributed this week to safety net hospitals “serving our most vulnerable citizens.” 
Advocacy & Other News
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is seeking $116.5 billion in additional federal assistance to pay for reopening K-12 schools this fall.

A broad coalition of 44 transportation industry groups sent a letter to President Trump urging him to support an immediate $49.95 billion for state departments of transportation to help with the economic fallout from the pandemic. 
Webinars, Events and Resources
NACo Town Hall on Reopening America's Counties
TODAY June 11, 1:30 PM ET

NACo Federal Policy Update Call
TODAY June 11, 3:00 PM EDT

DOL, IRS, and SBA Webinar: Paid Sick Leave Requirements, Tax Relief, and Other Information for Employers and Business Owners
June 12, 12:00-1:00 PM EDT

ICMA Webinar: Recreation Leading Recovery: Strategic Planning for the Rebound
June 12, 2:30 – 4:00 pm EDT

USCM Webinar: City Fiscal Tracking and Federal Reimbursement COVID-19
June 16, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT

Check out the TFG Coronavirus Library on Federal Guidance for CRS Reports and other recently released federal guidance and information.
For more information please contact Zachary Israel zisrael@tfgnet.com (202) 256-4386