COVID-19 Update | Friday, March 21 (PM)
March 21, 2020
- The Federal government is allowing borrowers to suspend federal student loan payments for at least 60 days. To be considered for the deferment of payments, borrowers who have federally held loans will have to make a request directly to their servicers, such as Navient, Nelnet, FedLoan Servicing or Great Lakes, over the phone or online.
- The Treasury Department has officially delayed the tax filing deadline to July 15. This is to clarify confusion surrounding the announcement on the extension on tax payments Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin early this week. Taxpayers will have until July 15 to file their returns and pay on taxes they might owe.
- Secretary of State Pompeo discussed that the suspension of non-essential travel between the United States and Canada will be reevaluated in 30 days.
- Secretary Pompeo also mentioned that the U.S. and Mexico are now restricting non-essential travel across southern border.
- For both travel restrictions, which are set to go into effect at midnight tonight and will stay in place until April 20, essential travel includes, but is not limited to:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
- Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Canada in furtherance of such work);
- Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Canada); · Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
- The following travel does not fall within the definition of “essential travel” for purposes of this notice
- Individuals traveling for tourism purposes (e.g., sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events).
- This partial closing does not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel between the United States and Canada, but does apply to passenger rail and ferry travel between the United States and Canada.
- Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf discussed that the suspension of non-essential travel does not include trade or commerce.
- Mr. Wolf also discussed that the CDC is exercising its authority to direct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to return undocumented immigrants to their “home country.”
- The President announced that he has directed companies to begin production under the Defense Production Act, but wouldn’t say which companies and did not specify which medical supplies are being produced under this authority.
- The President and Dr. Fauci discussed that the medicine announced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being ordered by the Federal government and distributed to patients who want to use it, while the Federal government also gathers data on how effective the medicine is against COVID-19.
- The President once again reiterated his opposition to companies using relief funds for stock buy backs
- The President mentioned that FEMA would be providing an update on testing tomorrow.
- Senator McConnell has filed cloture on the House bill that will be the legislative vehicle for the the third COVID-19 package. This move allows for the Senate process to continue while the final legislation is negotiated and drafted, likely over the weekend. Reports suggested that the Senate was searching for agreement as soon as tonight, make changes to text and have next vote tomorrow with an eye to final passage on Monday.
- While there is some discussion that the House might introduce their own package or come back to make changes to the Senate bill, there have also been discussions that if there is a large enough vote in the Senate the House would attempt to pass the Senate bill under Unanimous Consent.
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker have instituted a statewide lockdown for non-essential workers similar to the measures instituted by Governor Newsom in California yesterday.
- United Airlines executives today hinted at layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts or other austerity measures soon if Congress doesn’t act on significant relief to airlines.