COVID-19 Update | Monday, April 6
April 6, 2020
- Consensus continues to build around the need to extend and expand provisions contained in CARES Act to continue to provide relief to individuals and businesses impacted by COVID-19.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced today that the House will allow Members to file bills, resolutions and other legislative documents electronically for the first time starting tomorrow, at least on a temporary basis.
- Normally, Members are required to file legislation in person.
- The fiscal year 2021 appropriations process continues to move forward, but no decision has been made on how best to process bills through the committee and chamber process.
- A group of 16 House Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to the Department of the Interior urging them not provide any royalty relief during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for oil and gas producers drilling on federal lands.
- The Association of Equipment Manufacturers on Monday renewed a push to create a National Institute of Manufacturing to create Federal coordination of the 58 different government programs to support manufacturing spread across 11 federal agencies.
- The group has been working with Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on legislation that it hopes will be introduced in the next several weeks.
- Minority Leader Schumer held a conference call today during which he shared his view that a COVID-19 fourth relief package will be necessary.
- Senator Rubio (R-FL) this morning also noted that additional money is needed for small businesses.
- Our intelligence suggests that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), established by the CARES Act, may already be oversubscribed after having just opened for applications on Friday.
- Reports indicate that Bank of America has received applications from 177,000 small businesses totaling $32.6 billion (almost 10 percent of the entire amount allocated by Congress). It is important to note that these figures are only for applications received, not for loans that have been approved by SBA).
- Wells Fargo has announced that it will focus its lending on nonprofits and small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, citing Federal Reserve restrictions on its balance sheet capacity.
- President Trump announced plans to pick Brian Miller as the new Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery. Miller currently serves in the White House Counsel’s office and previously served 10 years as the Inspector General of the General Services Administration. This new position was mandated by the CARES Act to oversee the $500 billion in loans being administered by the Treasury Department. The post would require Senate confirmation and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already voiced her opposition to the nomination.
- The Federal Reserve today announced that to facilitate lending to small businesses via the Small Business Administration’s PPP, the Federal Reserve will establish a facility to provide term financing backed by PPP loans.
- The PPP has seen trouble in deploying the funds through FDIC banks due to technical problems with SBA’s “E-Tran” system, which is used to authorize the loans.
- State transportation departments are requesting $50 billion from the federal government in the next COVID-19 relief package. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials made the request in a letter to House and Senate leadership, in addition to citing revenues could drop 30% over the next 18 months.
- President Trump announced that COVID-19 patients from both New York and New Jersey would be treated on the hospital ship in New York Harbor. Previously, the ship had been underutilized and was not accepting COVID-19 patients.
- President Trump indicated during his press conference that he would support additional funding for programs established in the CARES Act, including oversubscribed programs like the PPP, as well as additional individual payments to Americans.
- President Trump also indicated his desire to invest heavily in infrastructure, possibly in a future COVID-19 relief package, naming a $2 trillion price tag on investment.
- The Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled Governor Tony Evers’ late attempt to move the state’s in-person primary election, meaning the election will proceed tomorrow as scheduled.
- Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued a last-minute order halting in-person voting amid COVID-19 concerns, calling for suspending the statewide and local elections until June 9.
- According to the American Association of Railroads (AAR), March saw rail carloads fall to their lowest levels since AAR started keeping data in January 1988, with a three percent drop from February 2020. U.S. intermodal volume dropped 12 percent from March 2019. The shutdown of automobile plants in March led to a 62 percent decline in autos and auto parts by freight rail in the United States, Canada and Mexico over the course of one week, between the third and fourth weeks of March, from more than 25,500 carloads to less than 10,000.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was transferred to an intensive care unit on Monday after having been admitted to the hospital this weekend due to persisting COVID-19 symptoms.
- President Trump on Monday announced that 3M would produce 166.5 million masks over the next three months.