Coronavirus Update
June 8, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for state, local, and regional government.
Top News
On June 5 President Trump said the Administration plans to request additional stimulus from Congress, with a focus on a payroll tax cut, aid for restaurants and “various pieces of the entertainment industry.” Bloomberg reports the Administration wants $1 trillion in the next stimulus package, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicates he has no plans to consider another relief package until late July.

CDC is monitoring whether there is an impact on the federal COVID-19 response related to ongoing protests over George Floyd’s death. 

Today the Congressional Budget Office report ed the federal deficit was about $1.9 trillion in the first eight months of fiscal year 2020, $1.2 trillion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year. The budget deficit in May 2020 was $424 billion, about double the amount in the same month last year, according to CBO estimates.

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.

The Congressional Budget Office examined the economic effects of extending the temporary increase of $600 per week in the benefit amount provided by unemployment programs under the CARES Act. CBO found most recipients would receive benefits exceeding the weekly amounts they could expect to earn from work if the program is extended beyond the current July 31 expiration. 

A bipartisan group of 41 senators signed a letter supporting additional assistance for community health centers in the next virus relief package.

Eighty-seven Members of Congress requested prioritization of critical healthcare services supporting underserved communities in the next coronavirus relief package. Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA), a leader on the letter, commented, “Communities of color are often left out of the conversation during times of national emergencies.”

Hearings

There are numerous hearings this week, including:


Administration. CDC Director Robert Redfield told Congress that 30,000-100,000 people need to be hired as contract tracers by September. Redfield’s written testimony is here .

FEMA released state-by-state data on the federal distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE). As of June 5, FEMA has obligated more than $6.5 million to support state COVID-19 response efforts.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new guidance specifying data to be reported by labs along with the nation’s COVID-19 test results.  HHS also updated its FAQ document for the $175 billion CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.

The IRS provided guidance for Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF) related to Opportunity Zone investment and answered questions regarding relief from certain requirements.

President Trump signed Executive Order 13927 waiving many environmental review requirements for projects. The Administration says the EO will boost the economy but drew fire from environmental groups.

President Trump signed HR 7010 giving PPP loan recipients more flexibility in how they spend money. The law reduces the amount recipients must spend on payroll (down from 75% to 60%) and allows businesses to use the loans for six months instead of two.  Here is a CRS brief PPP, and SBA/Treasury released a joint statement explaining upcoming agency action including the loan forgiveness application process.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the Task Force is still doing "substantial" work despite holding fewer meetings and press conferences. 
Advocacy & Other News
NACo submitted a statement for the record to the House Budget Committee outlining growing budgetary and economic challenges counties. NACo urged bipartisan support for a new round of direct, flexible aid for local governments of all sizes.


Nature published a study today providing fresh evidence that aggressive and unprecedented shutdowns were necessary to halt the exponential spread of the virus. On May 21 we noted a report found stay-at-home orders likely reduced the number of coronavirus deaths by 232,878 and prevented 2.1 million hospitalizations.  We also noted a study , funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, concluded approximately 36,000 fewer people would have died if the lockdown would have been in place on March 1.  
Webinars, Events and Resources
NACo WEBINAR - Pivoting with COVID-19 - Serving the homeless population and those in need while reopening the County for business
June 9 – 2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT

NACo WEBINAR - Billing and Payments in 2020: How Your County Can Combat Changing Priorities in Changing Times
June 10 – 2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT

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

NACo Analysis: The HEROES Act (H.R. 6800)
NACo’s section-by-section analysis and advocacy points

NACo publishes series of issue briefs on county practices and innovations in response to COVID-19

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