News from Washington on federal coronavirus information and resources.
March 23, 2020
Information and resources on federal responses for state, local, and regional government.
TFG has created a Coronavirus Update Library on our website to store TFG memos and briefs on the outbreak, as well as critical information and guidance released by Congress and the Administration.
Capitol Hill. Sunday, the Senate failed to pass the $1.8 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act/ S.3548), after enough Democrats blocked the required 60 votes needed to move the package forward. In response, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has set a vote on the legislation for 12:00 PM ET today, but it is unclear if Democrats will move to block it. The contention around the bill falls on two provisions: the total aid package that can be directed to the states and the restrictions included in the aid pool created for distressed large industries, CNN reports. TFG is reviewing drafts of the CARES Act and will be sending out a TFG Brief summarizing the provisions. TFG is working to include the priorities of local governments in pending coronavirus legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) confirmed House Democrats will release their own bill hoping it will be compatible with the Senate legislation. The early draft of the bill eliminates the language in the second coronavirus bill (P.L. 116-127), which excludes local governments and public entities from receiving the tax credits for the emergency paid sick and family leave programs.
Administration. The Federal Reserve issued a statement announcing emergency measures being taken to support the economy and ensure credit flows to individuals and businesses as the country faces the prospect of a declining economy. The Fed statement also announced support for municipal bonds.
On March 20, President Trump issued major disaster declarations for New York, California, and Washington. This marks the first time that a public health crisis has been considered a major disaster under the Stafford Act. The disaster declarations allow the federal government to do more in response to the crisis, but given that this action is unprecedented, it is unclear exactly what additional activities will be undertaken. Additional resources and guidance from FEMA about the declarations are forthcoming.
On March 22, President Trump issued a memorandum directing the Department of Defense to assist the Governors of New York, California, and Washington by ordering National Guard forces to support coronavirus response efforts in those states. Any National Guard assistance provided to these states will be fully reimbursed by the federal government.
The CDC is hosting a webinartoday to update rural stakeholders and communities on the COVID-19 response at 1 PM ET.
The "Big 7" of state and local government advocacy groups sent a letter to House and Senate leadership on March 21 requesting Congress allow state and local governments to receive the payroll tax credits some employers qualify for to offset the costs of the new sick leave and family medical leave programs.
NACo is encouraging members to contact their U.S. Senators and urge their support for $150 billion in state financial assistance, including requesting that counties be eligible for direct assistance from the Treasury Department; the Municipal Bond Emergency Relief Act; and provide local governments the same payroll tax credits as private employers - local governments did not qualify for these tax credits under the second coronavirus funding package.
News and Updates
The U.S Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced the federal income tax filing due date has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
The U.S. Census Bureau announcedthat the 2020 Census door-knocking campaign will be delayed until May 28 and the end date will be pushed from July 31 to August 14.
Surgeon General today warned Americans in an appearance on NBC's Today Show that "This week, it's going to get bad..." He is urging Americans to follow recommendations to stay home and do their part to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.