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COVID-19 Update | Tuesday, March 17 (PM)

March 17, 2020


  • Reports throughout Tuesday indicate that the Treasury Department is preparing to unveil a package of $850 billion including more than $50 billion for the airline industry and $250 billion for small-business support.
  • Secretary Mnuchin on Tuesday mentioned unveiling a specific program for businesses of 500 employees and under. Details about this program have not yet emerged.
  • Secretary Mnuchin also discussed an additional $1 trillion of potential liquidity into the market and reports indicate that the overall government stimulus could reach over $1 trillion.
  • Secretary Mnuchin also discussed possibly sending checks to adults across the United States.
  • Secretary Mnuchin stated that individuals will be able to defer up to $1 million in tax payments to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for 90 days in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. He also stated that corporations will be able to defer up to $10 million in tax payments.
  • Vice President Pence discussed two ways that the Department of Defense can be helpful on expanding medical capacity, both of which the Administration is reportedly considering:
    • Mobilize the USACE to help with hospital bed shortages and renovations of existing facilities.
    • Inventorying field hospitals and mobilizing and deploying them.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have drastically increased telehealth capabilities and offerings including loosening certain Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPAA) requirements so doctors can use their own phones, for example.
  • The major telehealth expansion reduces stress medical offices and preservation of personal protective equipment (PPE).


  • Senate Republican leaders and the Administration have discussed combining the House-passed package and an additional, third government stimulus package, which would be based on the Administration’s $850 billion request.
  • Senate Democrats on Tuesday afternoon unveiled more details about their $750 billion proposal. At the top level it would include
    • $400 billion in emergency appropriations focused on:
      • Medical Surge: hospital beds, ventilators, masks and equipment, ensure affordable care for COVID 19 patients.
      • Child Care: a large injection of federal funding for child care, especially for health care workers needed to respond to the crisis.
      • Small Business: Low interest loans and loan forgiveness.
      • Seniors: rental, food and financial assistance as well as home based health care.
      • Public Housing: rental, mortgage and utilities assistance.
      • Schools and Children: Protections for students of all ages, whose schools may be closed and are thus lacking basic needs, including housing and meals.
      • Public Transportation relief: Relief for public transportation to ensure continued operations until normal ridership resumes.
      • State and local relief like Community Development Block Grants, Economic Development Administration (EDA) Grants, and FIRE Grants for Governors, Mayors, Tribes, and Fire Departments to mitigate and recover.
      • Resilient infrastructure like broadband internet connectivity so that American workers and students stuck at home can manage amidst the crisis.
    • $350 billion for the social safety net focused on:
      • Unemployment Insurance:
        • Increased Benefit Size.
        • Waiving the waiting period.
        • A 13 week extension for current enrollees.
        • Expanding work sharing eligibility to avoid layoffs.
        • Automatic extensions during recession.
        • Open up unemployment insurance to gig workers and the self-employed.
      • Increasing the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) percentage for Medicaid to states and automatic extensions during the recession
      • A 15 percent benefit increase for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and automatic extensions during the recession.
      • Cancelling monthly student loan payments and having the federal government pay.
    • Six months of forbearance for all federally backed mortgages.
    • A moratorium on all evictions and foreclosures.
    • Businesses who receive money through a stimulus must provide mandatory paid sick leave and a $15 minimum wage for all direct employees.
  • It is still possible that the Senate may consider either only the House-passed or a combined package this week. If the Senate alters the House-passed legislation or combines it with an additional package, the House would have to return to Washington, DC to pass the legislation.

Other News

  • Testing has increased and there were as many as 8,000 tests yesterday alone reported by the Association of Clinical Labs.
  • While there are currently few details, President Trump did respond affirmatively to providing financial assistance specifically for companies like Boeing and General Electric during the White House press conference Tuesday afternoon.
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