COVID-19 Update | Monday, April 13 (PM)
April 13, 2020
- Congressional leaders began talks over additional funding for CARES Act provisions, including small businesses, hospital, and state and localities relief funds.
- Both Republicans and Democrats have reinforced the fact that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has been oversubscribed and that a further delay on additional funding past this week would interrupt lending ability.
- Today’s Senate Pro Forma session ended without any agreement on a path forward today. The earliest, at this point, the Senate could act is Thursday. Currently, we believe there is a better than even chance that they get something passed this week but further delay until next week remains a possibility.
- The Senate is scheduled to return to D.C. on April 20, but right now, we are predicting a return date of May 4th or 11th at the earliest.
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) today told Members that the House will likely not meet until May 4th at the earliest. However, Members would clearly return to Washington, DC if Congress comes to an agreement on additional COVID-19 relief for votes if unanimous consent is unattainable.
- Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA) proposed that Congress adopt new protections for essential workers, including healthcare, gig, and warehouse workers.
- Deemed the “essential workers bill of rights,” the proposal includes extended paid sick leave to 14 days, paid family and medical leave to 12 weeks, and improved health and safety protections, on top of a pay premium for their work.
- They are seeking to include the proposal in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
- The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) announced that the committee will begin a probe of the origins and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman Johnson emphasized that the oversight would be focused on China.
- The probe will include review of the national stockpile, medical supply chains, and the World Health Organization’s response.
- The Trump Administration has indicated that it would look to reopen the economy by May 1 and President Trump signaled his belief that he has the authority over Governors to reopen restrictions in individual states.
- In response, Senior House Democrats have called for a national plan to reopen the economy, calling for any action to reopen to include consultations with governmental agencies and public health experts.
- According to a letter released by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced the deferral of fees and charges from licensees through July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Airports and the Administration have a conference call scheduled tomorrow to discuss the distribution of CARES Act funds. It is expected that airports will be informed of the DoT determination of amounts tomorrow.
- United Airlines asked for an exemption from the Department of Transportation’s service requirements tied to CARES Act aid, due to be received soon.
- The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to streamline federal gasoline, diesel, and air quality regulations, which would save $33 million for the industry without impacting pollution requirements.
- The Trump Administration is taking action to delay the 2020 census for 120 days due to interruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the Small Business Administration has administered $230 billion of loans in the first week of the PPP.
- Secretary Mnuchin also announced that the first half of the $100 billion for states in the CARES Act would be distributed this week.
- Secretary Mnuchin advocated for an additional $250 billion for the PPP program.
- For the first time in history, the Supreme Court has announced that it will hear cases via teleconference in May. There are currently 10 cases on the docket, which had been postponed, that will be heard between May 4th through 6th and May 11th through 13th. Some have interpreted this as placing fresh pressure on Congress to come up with an alternative voting plan that still seems “remote”.
- The Governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island, have announced that they will form a working group to discern their collective economic reopening.