COVID-19 Update | Friday, March 27 (AM)
March 27, 2020
- The House convened at 9am this morning to begin considering the CARES Act, which passed the Senate Wednesday night.
- House leaders continue to worry that one or more members may decide to demand a quorum call or a roll call vote, which would require more lawmakers to return to Washington DC. Ideally, the House would pass the bill by voice vote, which would not require a majority of Members to travel back to the Capitol.
- Speaker Pelosi has had conversations with Secretary Mnuchin, Majority Leader Hoyer, and incoming White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to try and ensure the vote goes according to plan.
- Minority Leader McCarthy has also been pushing his GOP colleagues not to object to the voice vote today.
- If the House is unsuccessful in passing the bill by voice vote today, there is a substantial chance that members would have to be called back on Saturday or Sunday for a House vote.
- The White House COVID-19 Task Force is expected to hold a briefing tonight at 5pm and reports indicate that they may temporarily reopen Obamacare enrollment after the Labor Department reported a record-breaking 3.3 million unemployment claims this past week.
- The Administration is said to be considering a new plan to reopen parts of the country by mid-April.
- The White House issued a letter to the nation’s Governors this week to conduct ‘surveillance testing’ that would allow the federal government to determine which counties in particular still need to practice certain social distancing guidelines.
- Governors across the country have objected to the plan, including Governor Hogan (R-MD), the chair of the National Governors Association, Governor Abbot (R-TX), Governor Cuomo (D-NY), and at least 7 others.
- The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will take a “flexible” approach to enforcement with respect to companies attempting to respond to COVID-19.
- The Administration has continued to get pressure to use the Defense Production Act to address the medical supply shortage. Despite many calls, the Administration, and FEMA in particular, continue to assert that they ultimately do not need to use the Defense Production Act to secure medical equipment.
- The Department of Homeland Security has officially announced that it will push back the REAL ID enforcement deadline one year, to October 2021, which is consistent with the delay set forth in the CARES Act.
- Industry leaders are asserting that a longer extension may be needed as we continue to fight, and recover from, COVID-19.
- Many major cruise companies are not eligible to receive financial help in the bill that is set to be voted on today because they are not incorporated in the United States. There are reportedly efforts by a bipartisan Senate working group to help fix that in the next stimulus package.
- Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) in particular has been very vocal that cruise companies should have to come back to the United States to pay their taxes.
- 68 TSA personnel have tested positive for COVID-19.
- These numbers include:
- 59 screening officers, four federal air marshals, and five management and professional employees. Administrator Pekoske announced that TSA employees are now permitted to wear N95 masks.
- These numbers include:
- Nearly 13 percent of unemployment in the middle parts of the United States is in the travel and tourism industries, and one-third of U.S. unemployment in air transportation is located in the same region.
- Spirit AeroSystems, a Boeing supplier based in Wichita, KS, has shut down its production line supporting Boeing – nearly 10 percent of Wichita’s total workforce is in the aerospace manufacturing space.
- Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Steve Dickson has completed his self-quarantine and reports to be “feeling fine.”
- A New York City transit worker has died of COVID-19, the first MTA employee to do so.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Dow Futures point to a significant drop this morning after a three day rally.