Create or retrieve your password by clicking here

COVID-19 Update | Friday, July 10

July 10, 2020


Both the House and Senate are in recess through July 20; however House Committees continue to meet.


  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking for more information on whether the Pentagon is conducting an investigation into reports on whether Russia placed a bounty on U.S. troops. Sen. Duckworth asserts the information provided to the Senators to date is insufficient. The letter can be found here.


  • Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) called on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield to testify at a July 23 Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education hearing regarding school reopening in the fall. The press release can be found here.
  • The House Appropriations Committee has advanced all 12 subcommittee bills to the full committee. Committee leadership intends for all bills to be approved by the full committee by the end of Wednesday. The full House is expected to consider the bills the week of July 20. One of the main points of contention is Democrats’ inclusion of almost $250B in emergency funding, which Republicans believe violates the budget agreement reached between the two parties last year.
  • Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced H.R. 7516, which would establish a Federal clean energy standard that would require U.S electricity producers to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. A press release on the bill can be found here and the bill text can be found here.
  • Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) introduced the National Broadband Plan for the Future Act. The legislation would instruct the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to update the National Broadband Plan. A press release on the bill can be found here and bill text can be found here.
  • 20 members of the House Agriculture Committee, led by Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), Rep. James Comer (R-KY) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stating that they were concerned about Ligado Networks’ 5G plans and that they are concerned it would interfere with the operation of GPS. In the letter, the signatories asked the FCC to reconsider utilizing Ligado for 5G buildout. The letter can be found here.

General Congress

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) both said that they plan to attend the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, next month, despite the growing number of Republicans who have said that they do not plan to attend. However, Leader McConnell said that the convention is a “challenging situation,” and that we “will have to wait and see how things look in late August to determine if it is safe to convene that many people.”


  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that the airline industry, along with hotels and restaurants, will need more help from the government in order to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Reports indicate that the Administration may attempt to resubmit paperwork repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, after the Supreme Court ruled that the justification for repeal was not sufficient in the previous attempt.
    • The United States Conference of Mayors sent a letter to the President and Congress urging them to maintain the DACA program until Congress has passed legislation that has settled the matter. Read the full letter here
  • Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) President and Chairman Kimberly A. Reed hosted a teleconference discussion where she emphasized how EXIM’s relationship with the private sector can provide new opportunities for U.S companies. She also launched a discussion about what EXIM can do to help American space and technology companies remain competitive globally.
  • The Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are issuing an interim final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement section 889(a)(1)(B) of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019 (P. L. 115-232).
    • Section 889(a)(1)(B) prohibits executive agencies from entering into, or extending or renewing, a contract with an entity that uses any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system, on or after August 13, 2020, unless an exception applies or a waiver is granted.
    • The prepublication version of the interim final rule can be found here. It is expected to be posted to the Federal Register as early as this Monday.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Thursday that it is starting a formal investigation into Boeing in response to several employees’ alleging they faced duress that threatened their independence while assessing aircraft designs on behalf of the government.
  • The FAA is aiming to finalize a rule on drone flights over people in December, according to Jay Merkle, the head of the agency’s drone integration office. This timing is consistent with what was posted in the most recent Unified Agenda.
  • United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said that that creating a deal between the United States and the United Kingdom (U.K.) on European subsidies for Airbus was “possible” but “tricky.” The U.K. is one of four European governments that provide subsidies for Airbus, in addition to France, Germany and Spain.
  • President Trump said that it is unlikely that there will be a second phase of a trade deal with China as the U.S.’ relationship with China has been severely damaged.
    • As a reminder, the U.S. signed a phase one deal with China in January to increase exports of agricultural, energy and other products. However, China has said they will struggle to meet their purchase requirements.
  • President Trump has nominated Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier to be the next Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Currently, Barrier is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Army Intelligence.
  • Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said that Confederate leaders are traitors to the United States and that he supports a review of changing the names of Army bases that hold Confederate names.
    • As a reminder, President Trump has threatened to veto any defense legislation that includes a provision about renaming military bases.
  • The Department of Commerce (DOC) released all the comments they received on their 5G Security Strategy. DOC received over 80 comments from different parties, including the city of New York, AT&T and Qualcomm. The majority of the comments referenced the recent push to open 5G architecture to increase the number of vendors that can participate. The collection of comments can be found here.
  • Steve Verheul, Canada’s chief negotiator for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) noted that new U.S tariffs on Canadian aluminum would give Chinese and Russian producers an edge on the American market.
  • The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to reconsider whether half a dozen “attainment” areas around the U.S. meet the 2015 ozone standard.

Other News

  • Both President Trump and Democratic Nominee Joe Biden are planning on holding infrastructure related events next week where they will lay out their infrastructure plans. Infrastructure may be a key point in the campaign this fall.
    • President Trump will hold his announcement in Atlanta on Wednesday where he plans promote his Administration’s transportation agenda and announce a new plan to speed infrastructure development.
    • Biden said he is planning on rolling out a blueprint to promote more sustainable infrastructure and a clean energy economy.
  • The U.S once again set a single day record for new COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The new figure of 59,880 infections is the sixth single day record that the U.S has broken in the last ten days.
    • Six states set single day case records Thursday as well: Alabama, Texas, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, and Oregon.
    • Texas had its fourth straight day of record-breaking single day COVID-19 cases, with 10,900 on Thursday, with a large amount in Hidalgo County.
  • American Airlines pilot and union representative Dennis Tajer said on CNBC it is a necessity that the Federal government provide a requirement for masks on planes. Tajer added that the recommendations the Administration issued on mask usage are not robust enough.
  • The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) sent a letter to leadership on the House and Senate Armed Services Committee urging Congress to fully fund Navy research and development plans for unmanned ships in the FY 2021 NDAA.
  • On Thursday Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) appealed District of Columbia District Court Judge James Boasberg’s ruling from Monday that mandated the company cease usage on the Dakota Access pipeline while the Army Corps of Engineers completes the requisite environmental review. ETP’s argument is that it will not be able to meet the judge’s 30-day deadline.
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that the decision for who will be their next Director General will not be decided until at least November.
  • The European Commission will introduce a proposal for a digital tax in early 2021 and plan to implement it by Jan 1, 2023 at the latest, according to a new budget proposal. The tax is expected to bring in €1.3B for the European Union.
    • As we reported yesterday, USTR Lighthizer announced yesterday that the U.S is considering imposing retaliatory duties on France in order to dissuade them from maintaining a tax that impacts a lot of U.S tech companies. Today it was reported that the duties could be worth more than $2B.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement disagreeing with the Trump Administration’s threats to withhold federal funds from schools that do not fully reopen. The statement is joined by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the School Superintendents Association. The statement can be found here.
« »