Coronavirus Update
September 28, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses to the coronavirus crisis for state, local, and regional government.
Top News
On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) directed committee chairs to draft a new coronavirus relief package representing a more scaled-down version of the $3.5 trillion HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) the House passed in May. The new package, which we expect to be released this week, is anticipated to cost between $2.2 trillion and $2.4 trillion and include many of the same provisions that are in the HEROES Act, including additional aid for state and local governments, expanded unemployment assistance, and more relief for businesses and hard-hit industries. Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both signaled that they remain committed to negotiating a compromise package. However, Speaker Pelosi indicated that the House would move forward with a vote on its own relief package proposal if a deal with the White House and Congressional Republicans is not reached soon.

According to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) Weekly Floor Schedule, the House “may consider” a coronavirus relief package this week. If the House does not vote on a relief package this week, it is highly unlikely the House will vote on a package before the November elections, as the House is scheduled to begin its October/early November recess at the end of the week.

[If House Democrats release their new coronavirus relief package proposal today, an update on the proposal will be provided in the TFG Weekly Legislative Update later today.]

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 Tuesday, the Senate will vote on the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act” (H.R. 8337), to keep the federal government funded through December 11 at enacted FY2020 levels and avoid a government shutdown. The House passed the bill last Tuesday by a vote of 359-57-1 and President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law by midnight on Wednesday. The CR also includes one-year reauthorizations for programs that would otherwise lapse on Sept. 30, including the National Flood Insurance Program and the expiring 2015 FAST Act surface transportation bill; the bill contains no coronavirus relief provisions. A section-by-section summary of the CR is available here.

This week’s Congressional hearings related to the pandemic and the federal response include:

  • House Small Business Committee hearing on “How COVID-19 is Impacting Small Businesses Across the Food System.”
  • House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations hearing on “Preventing Fraud and Abuse of PPP and EIDL: An Update with the SBA Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.”
  • House Science Subcommittee on Environment hearing on “Coping with Compound Crises: Extreme Weather, Social Injustice, and a Global Pandemic.”
  • House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on “Pathway to a Vaccine: Ensuring a Safe and Effective Vaccine People Will Trust.”

Administration. President Trump is scheduled to give an update on the nation’s coronavirus testing strategy today at 2pm EDT.

This week’s CDC COVID-19 national ensemble forecast indicates an uncertain trend in new COVID-19 deaths over the next four weeks and predicts that 3,400 to 7,400 new deaths will likely be reported during the week ending October 17 bringing the national total to 214,000 to 226,000.

The Treasury Department continues updating its economic recovery timeline. The latest post (September 25) reports new orders for durable goods increased by .4% in August – the fourth consecutive month of increases.

HHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking implementing Executive Order 13937 to ensure low-income individuals dependent upon life-saving medications of insulin and epinephrine can purchase the drugs at the same cost charged to health centers.
Industry & Advocacy
NACo released a statement in response to House plans to unveil a new COVID-19 relief package this week. NACo encouraged congressional negotiators to provide funding that will help restore the fiscal health of cities, towns, and villages and ensure “local governments can continue to provide the essential services our communities need to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

U.S. Conference of Mayors released a statement again urging congressional and administration leaders to continue bipartisan negotiations on a COVID-19 relief package that includes emergency fiscal assistance to cities of all sizes. “To date, cities have been largely left behind in Washington’s response to this crisis. And with the daily number of new coronavirus cases remaining stubbornly high, it’s clear this crisis is not over.”

The Consumer Brands Association, which represents the consumer packaged goods industry, wrote a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield requesting vaccine priority for its workforce. The letter emphasizes the importance of the food, beverage and household product industry providing essential items throughout the pandemic.

Similarly, other food industry groups, like the North American Meat Institute, American Frozen Food Institute, and the United Fresh Produce Association, wrote to President Trump in July asking for priority access to a vaccine. 
Webinars, Events and Resources
NACo Webinar: COVID-19 Beyond Quick Wins – Safeguarding Your Financial Future
October 6, 2:00 PM EDT

NACo Webinar: Navigating the Needs of Unhouse Populations Amidst COVID-19
October 14, 3:00 PM EDT
For more information please contact Mike Miller: mmiller@tfgnet.com (707) 224-8648