COVID-19 Update | Friday, April 17
April 17, 2020
- Disagreement between Republican and Democrat congressional leadership regarding additional funds for state and local governments continues to hamper negotiations.
- As previously reported, National Governors Association Chair Larry Hogan (R-MD) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have issued a joint call to the President that states need $500 billion in relief and over 300 Mayors have indicated they need $250 billion.
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has indicated Senate Democrats remain focused on additional funds for small businesses and hospitals. Leader Schumer also led a letter to the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) requesting data from the $350 billion in small business loans already administered. Specifically, the letter requested information on amounts and recipients for loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Emergency Grants Program. Other Senators on the letter were Ben Cardin (D-MD), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) indicated on Friday that negotiations regarding additional emergency aid for the PPP, hospitals, and states have progressed. Republicans have softened their stance on strictly providing money for the PPP, making space for additional hospital funding, which has been a Democratic priority. The Senate’s next opportunity for action is on Monday at 2 pm EST in their next Pro Forma session.
- Leader McCarthy followed these statements up with a press release today, putting additional pressure on Democratic Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to make a deal.
- We believe a deal will likely materialize next week, perhaps as early as Monday, adding additional money to the PPP program and to hospitals. While Republicans agree that additional money will be needed for the states, they believe the timing for that is the next relief bill; therefore, we don’t believe they will reach agreement on additional money there or on adjustments to SNAP.
- The Administration’s guidelines on “Opening America Up Again” can be found here from the White House website.
- The Department of Transportation (DOT) has denied a majority of the requests made by JetBlue and Spirit for exemptions to the minimum service requirements that are tied to CARES Act funding. Other airlines, including United and Southwest, are still waiting on DOT’s determination.
- DOT also today extended waivers for minimum slot usage requirements for the New York Area airports, in addition to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The Federal Register notice can be found here.
- The Federal Reserve Board announced a rule change to bolster the effectiveness of SBA’s PPP. The change temporarily modifies the rule so that certain bank directors and shareholders can apply for PPP loans for their small businesses. More information can be found here.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on COVID-19-Related Tax Credits for Required Paid Leave Provided by Small and Midsize Businesses today. The full list of FAQs can be found here.
- 11:59PM tonight is the deadline for eligible state, local, and tribal governments to provide the required payment information and supporting documentation through the Treasury Department’s electronic form in order to receive aid. As a reminder, payments from the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund are being made to states, and local and tribal governments based on population, and other data, to be used for specific purposes.
- The Treasury Department issued a notice in the federal register today of the availability of the portal and additional guidance, which can be found here.
- The Federal Reserve updated information on the Main Street Lending Program today. As a reminder, the Main Street Lending Program will operate through two facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF). The most up to date information on the program and the two facilities, including term sheets that outline eligibility and other important details, can be found here.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is taking action against companies posing as SBA lenders and preying on small businesses. The FTC charged a company and its owner with falsely claiming to be an SBA-approved lender for federal COVID-19 relief lending programs. More information can be found here.
- Federal Register Notices
- The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) published additional safety procedures and guidance to protect transit operation employees during the pandemic. The full notice can be found here.
- The Administration issued an order to allow the National Guard to fulfill mission assignments in states at full federal cost share. The full notice can be found here.
- The Administration has announced many executives, economists, scholars, and other industry leaders that comprise the Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups. Full lists that have been posted this week can be found here.
- The FAA today issued an updated FAQs document on CARES Act Airport Grants. The updated document can be found here.
- The US Census Bureau released data that signaled an 8.7% drop in retail and food sales in March compared to February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- While food and beverage sales increased by 25%, motor and vehicle parts retailer sales fell by 25% and clothing and accessory sales fell by 50%.
- The Chief of Trade for the European Union, Phil Hogan, urged European trade ministries to suspend tariffs on medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Several world leaders from the G7 made their displeasure clear with President Trump’s halting of World Health Organization funding.