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COVID-19 Update | Monday, March 23 (PM)

March 23, 2020

Congress

  • Negotiations continue on the third COVID-19 package after a procedural vote failed to reach the 60-vote threshold in the early afternoon. Reports confirm that Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Majority Leader McConnell, and Minority Leader Schumer continue to speak frequently in an effort to reach agreement.
    • We are hearing that a deal could be coming within the next few hours.
    • Further votes in the Senate are expected tomorrow.
  • Unofficial draft legislative text has been circulating of the House Democratic COVID-19 relief package, although there is a delay on the official release of the text.
  • The House is unlikely to take any action on their package as negotiations on the Senate bill continue.
  • Logistics for the drafting, negotiation, and passage of a fourth COVID-19 relief package will be increasingly difficult in the near term as more members and congressional staff may test positive for COVID-19.

Administration

  • President Trump hinted at possibly loosening some restrictions currently in place around the COVID-19 outbreak sooner than originally expected.
  • FEMA is distributing 8 million N-95 masks, seen as important personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Attorney General William Barr discussed the authorities the President invoked under the Defense Production Act to prohibit hoarding of critical medical equipment including PPE.
  • President Trump announced that 10,000 units of medication aimed at possibly combatting COVID-19 will be distributed in New York tomorrow to evaluate its effectiveness.
  • President Trump announced plans to postpone the Department of Homeland Security‚Äôs REAL ID deadline, with a new deadline to be announced at a later time.
  • The Administration also announced tonight that Facebook has donated 720,000 masks that had previously been purchased for the wildfires.
  • Vice President Pence announced that over 300,000 COVID-19 tests have now been completed throughout the United States.
    • He also announced that self-swabbing tests will become available this week, which will allow there to be less strain on PPE.

Other News

  • Currently, the following states have issued stay at home orders: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, West Virginia.
  • Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky meanwhile have ordered all nonessential businesses to close, but stopped short of issuing official stay-at-home orders.
  • Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has closed Virginia schools for the rest of the academic year.
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