COVID-19 Update | Tuesday, March 17 (AM)
March 7, 2020
- The White House plans to deploy more staff to help hospitals test patients for COVID-19 in an effort to “rapidly increase supplies of test kits and cope with shortages across the country.”
- The White House has issued a call-to-action to the tech industry, asking them to analyze data and scholarly articles on COVID-19 using artificial intelligence.
- Airlines have asked both the Administration and Congress for $25 billion in immediate assistance for passenger airlines, and $4 billion for cargo carriers. They’ve also asked for $29 billion more in loan guarantees and relief from federal excise taxes. As reported yesterday, the President has indicated that his Administration will fully support the airlines through this time.
- The Airport industry has also requested $10 billion.
- The Federal Register Notice outlining the Schengen Area travel restrictions was officially published in the Federal Register today. The document also adds Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Miami International Airport (MIA) to the list of airports screening passengers.
- Small Business Administration Disaster Declarations have been declared by the following states:
- Washington, Idaho, Oregon
- Maine, New Hampshire
- Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island
- This opens up eligibility for small businesses in these states to begin the application to receive disaster loan assistance.
- The House passed a revised Coronavirus emergency bill last night by Unanimous Consent (UC), meaning there were no objections.
- The bill primarily makes technical corrections to the bill that passed the House last Friday, which reportedly made changes to the Medicaid reimbursement and small business tax credit sections.
- We are doing a deeper dive on the changes and will report back.
- House leadership have told Members that they will be given 24 hours’ notice to return to the Capitol. It is possible the lower chamber resumes legislative action on March 24 to consider a third Coronavirus relief package.
- The Air Line Pilots Association and the Association of Flight Attendants have requested that any Congressional relief package contain labor protections and direct payroll subsidies for airline and airport workers.
- Conversations occurred yesterday on incorporating parts of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s surface transportation bill into an economic relief package responding to COVID-19.
- House Democrats wrote the Administration yesterday raising concern that the October 1, 2020 deadline for new REAL ID regulations may now even be less realistic given the COVID-19 situation.
- Leader Schumer, in consultation with his Ranking Members, is preparing a new comprehensive proposal (for Coronavirus legislation part 3) that will provide an immediate infusion of at least $750 billion to combat COVID-19 and the economic crisis facing every American.
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Senate Republican leadership last night and is meeting with the full caucus at lunch to pitch an $850 billion package. There is a sense of urgency and rumors are that they will try and push to get this done this week, but there is still a lack of clarity.
- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced last night that the state’s health department will order all polling places not to open for Tuesday’s primary elections due to COVID-19, however a judge has denied postponing the primary election until later this year.
- Additionally, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois are expected to host their primary elections despite concerns.
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to see workers fall ill due to the COVID-19. Most recently, cases have been reported in Chicago and Atlanta.
- The Department of Transportation has asked that all staff who are eligible to telework to begin teleworking to the maximum extent possible.
- A cruise ship carrying passengers that are infected with COVID-19 is expected to dock in Cuba today. More on that can be found here.