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COVID-19 Update | Tuesday, April 28

April 28, 2020


  • COVID-19 Legislation
    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today stated that he would not support infrastructure funding in the next phase of COVID-19 relief measures. President Trump has indicated his desire for an infrastructure bill. Democrats came out strongly for infrastructure after the last package but have been less vocal on the issue recently. Elevate continues to believe that the situation is fluid and positions are subject to change throughout ongoing negotiations.  
      • In response to ongoing Democratic demands for state and local funding, Leader McConnell also stated that he would be open to additional state and local governments funds in the next bill in exchange for liability waivers for business owners and others, related to COVID-19. Minority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi have both publicly opposed the liability protections with additional aid.
    • Minority Leader Schumer and Democratic leaders sent a letter to Leader McConnell requesting that the Senate conduct oversight hearings of the Administration’s COVID-19 implementation of the recently passed legislation. The letter also included a request for a hearing regarding the testing capabilities of the US currently and the implementation of zero-cost testing for all. The White House recently released a plan that ceded most testing to the states. The full release and text of the letter can be found here.
      • In the letter, Senate Democrats also pressed for a public hearing regarding the implementation of and access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program with the Small Business Administration Administrator Carranza.
    • House Democratic leadership canceled plans to bring the House back into session next week as the Senate returns on Monday. The Capitol physician has advised against bringing the chamber back as cases continue to rise in the Washington D.C. area.
      • House Democratic and Republican leadership continue to negotiate a way to institute remote voting and other procedures in the COVID-19 era. A bi-partisan agreement on when and how to return has yet to materialize.
  • Other Congressional News
    • House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY) launched an inquiry into President Trump’s freeze of funding to the World Health Organization.
    • Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) are seeking to add a surprise medical billing fix to the next COVID-19 legislation.
      • The Coalition Against Rate Setting, which represents conservative groups such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, sent a letter to lawmakers making a case against the proposal. The full letter can be found here.
    • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) today introduced the Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act. More information can be found here.
    • Our intelligence indicates the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will mark-up updated highway reauthorization legislation as well as the America’s Water Infrastructure Act and Drinking Water Infrastructure Act next Wednesday. Details on how the mark-up will run are not yet clear.
    • Our information suggests that the Senate Appropriations Committee wants to report all FY2021 bills out of the Full Committee by July 4, 2020.


  • President Trump this afternoon reiterated support for infrastructure investments though other Republicans, including Majority Leader McConnell, would like infrastructure to go separately from COVID-19 relief measures.
  • The Department of Commerce published a final rule which expands restrictions on trade with Chinese companies that sell dual-use goods (civilian and military applications). The rule will require export licenses for any transaction for not only direct military end users but also any private companies that support a military end use in China. The new rule would apply license requirements for exports of semiconductor equipment, aircraft parts, sensors and other technologies.
  • More than 450 businesses and industry groups are urging the Trump Administration to defer the collection of all import duty payments in May and June. The list of businesses and industry groups has not been made immediately public.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today reminded low-income Americans to use their free, online tool to quickly and easily register to receive their Economic Impact Payment. The tool can be found here.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a press release today regarding a new effort that will enable on-demand operators to further enhance safety through standardized training offered by Part 142 training centers. In the advisory circular posted today, the FAA outlined a framework for training centers to offer standardized training for pilots of non-scheduled charters and air taxis covered under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. The completed guidance is the culmination of more than four years of collaboration with the aviation industry through the Air Carrier Training Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ACT ARC).
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that Robotic Processing Automation, used to perform data entry for loan processing, may not be used to submit PPP loans to the SBA.
  • Federal Register Notices
    • The Department of Commerce is extending the comment period for a request for information regarding business impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The notice can be found here.
    • The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposed a rule to prohibit State Driver’s Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) from issuing, renewing, upgrading, or transferring a commercial driver’s license (CDL), or commercial learner’s permit (CLP), for individuals prohibited under current regulations from driving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) due to controlled substance (drug) and alcohol program violations. The notice can be found here
    • The SBA posted additional guidance for definitions of eligible Paycheck Protection Program participants. The full notice can be found here

Other News

  • The hotel industry, led by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), penned a letter to House and Senate leadership advocating for changes to the PPP that would allow them to utilize more than 25 percent of the loan for non-payroll related expenses. The full letter can be found here.
  • Multiple publicly traded companies have indicated that they are not planning on returning loans received through the PPP. According to this report, at least 220 public companies applied for PPP loans and only 18 loans have been returned.
  • According to the Council of the Great City Schools, nearly 300,000 teachers could be laid off from schools in big cities without additional federal relief funding to ease the impact of COVID-19 on school budgets. The council pleaded its case in a letter to Congressional leadership, signed by 62 big-city superintendents that renews the organization’s call for more than $200 billion in additional stimulus funds for education.
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