COVID-19 Update | Monday, July 27 (AM)
July 27, 2020
Both the House and Senate are in Session.
COVID-19 Relief Negotiations
- Negotiations on the next COVID-19 relief package will resume this week and Senate Republicans are expected to release their proposed plan as soon as this afternoon. Senate Republican leaders met with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over the weekend to continue crafting a unified Republican proposal before beginning negotiations with Congressional Democrats.
- During media appearances on Sunday, both Meadows and Mnuchin suggested the possibility of approaching COVID-19 relief issue-by-issue if negotiations continue to stall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) already rejected that approach in a press conference earlier last week.
- Roughly one quarter of the cost of the expected proposal, or even more (if Republicans keep the bill around $1T), would be for another round of stimulus payments of up to $1,200. Secretary Mnuchin confirmed over the weekend that the second round of stimulus payments would use the same thresholds as the first round.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said half of his Republican colleagues would vote against the next COVID-19 package no matter what, and regardless of whether it was a small or a large package. All along, Republicans have known they will need Democratic support to pass a bill through the House and the Senate.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggested during a Sunday interview that Democrats would continue to fight for increased funding for states and local governments in this next COVID-19 package. As we have reported, we do not anticipate Senate Republicans will include increased funding for states and local governments in their package when it is unveiled.
- As a reminder, expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of this week.
- Sec. Mnuchin commented over the weekend that Republicans had come to an agreement on expanded benefits going forward which would cover approximately 70% of workers’ wages.
- Reports indicate that the Republican plan will propose cutting the expanded unemployment benefits to $200 per week temporarily until the above 70% program is implemented by states. States would be required to phase in the new formula within two months.
- Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are pushing to ensure that a next round of stimulus payments would also go to Americans whose spouses do not have a Social Security Number.
- This group of roughly 1.7M Americans did not receive the stimulus that was enacted as part of the CARES Act.
- Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) commented on Friday that he would ensure that language renaming military facilities named after Confederate figures would be stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) during conference negotiations. He declined to provide details of how he would achieve this, especially given the wide support the respective versions of the NDAA received in each chamber.
- As a reminder, President Trump had threatened to veto the NDAA if language renaming the bases was included.
- Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the End Polluter Welfare Act of 2020 on Friday, which would cut Federal COVID-19 economic stimulus money, subsidies, tax loopholes and research for coal, oil and natural gas.
- The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing tomorrow on Section 230 and the Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency (PACT) Act. Witnesses will include:
- The Honorable Christopher Cox, Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Director, NetChoice
- Mr. Jeff Kosseff, Assistant Professor, Cyber Science Department, United States Naval Academy
- Mr. Olivier Sylvain, Professor of Law, Fordham University
- Ms. Elizabeth Banker, Deputy General Counsel, Internet Association
- Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) will lie in state in the Capitol rotunda today and tomorrow.
- The House Rules Committee will meet tomorrow on amendments to the second Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 appropriations minibus. As of this morning, over 500 amendments were filed to the package. As a reminder, this package includes Defense, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-Health and Human Services-Education, and Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations.
- The legislation will be considered on the House floor later this week.
- The House will also vote on their Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) under suspension of the rules this week. This means that the House will need a two-thirds majority to pass the legislation and no amendments will be allowed.
- The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law rescheduled its hearing on online platforms with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Sundar Pichai for Wednesday, July 29, at 12pm ET.
- White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien tested positive for COVID-19.
- Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, commented this weekend that the Administration plans to extend the eviction moratorium. He did not offer any details as cities across the country are preparing for a surge in evictions after the four-month Federal moratorium on evictions expired Friday.
- The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a $7.6M investment Sunday to expand production of critical supplies to increase the availability of high-capacity tests made my Hologic.
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive late last week following multiple reports of Boeing 737 jet engines shutting down mid-flight.
- The order instructed airlines to inspect and possibly replace engine parts on any 737 that had been parked for at least seven days or flown fewer than 11 times since being returned to service.
- The State Department on Friday announced a relaxation on export controls on certain Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Specifically, the decision changed the International Missile Technology Regime and certain UAS systems will no longer be subject to a presumption of denial when classified for export.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci recently commented in an interview that he will not be flying during the pandemic as he sees himself as being at risk at age 79. The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases also said that checking passengers’ temperatures is not the remedy for stopping the spread of COVID-19 onboard aircraft. He pointed to asking questions regarding symptoms and exposure as being more effective.
- As we reported last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to drop its prohibition on New Yorkers taking part in its trusted traveler programs. Court documents have since revealed that DHS based its decision on false information.
- As a result, New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he thinks that top DHS officials should be criminally charged.
- Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee announced on Saturday that they will launch an investigation into DHS’ conduct on the matter.
- As we reported Friday, Airbus announced it was halting subsidies for its leading twin-aisle A350 airliner by agreeing to pay a higher interest rate on loans granted by the governments of Spain and France, where it has some of its main production sites. So far, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has remained silent on the move.
- Officials from the Space Force, Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Defense Innovation Unit will unveil a new report on the “State of the Space Industrial Base 2020” during an online Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) event today.
- Federal Register Notices:
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a declaratory ruling on accelerating wireless and wireline broadband deployment by removing barriers to infrastructure investment. The rule can be found here.
- The General Services Administration (GSA) issued a notice and correction on the GSA Live Webinar regarding GSA’s implementation of Section 889 of the FY 2019 NDAA. The notice can be found here.
- COVID-19 cases continued to rise across the U.S. this weekend. Saturday saw 73,400 and Sunday saw 64,582 new reported cases respectively. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the total U.S. cases sits at 4,163,892 as of Sunday and 145,982 Americans have died due to the virus.
- The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) is the latest transportation group to request aid in the next COVID-19 package. AAPA requested $1.5B on behalf of the port industry to help cover business-critical expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Countries have imposed trade restrictions on roughly $1.7T worth of imported goods since the 2009 financial crisis. This figure represents 8.7% of world imports, according to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) semi-annual trade monitoring report.
- The report also found that between mid-October 2019 and mid-May 2020, WTO members implemented 363 new trade and trade-related measures, 198 of them trade-facilitating and 165 trade-restrictive. Most of them (256 or about 71%) were linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.