COVID-19 UPDATE | MONDAY, NOV. 2
November 2, 2020
Both the Senate and House are in recess.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that Democrats will pursue budget reconciliation procedures during the next Congress to provide COVID-19 relief and enhance the Affordable Care Act. Budget reconciliation allows for, among other things, legislation to be passed by a simple majority in the Senate and likely would only be possible if Democrats control both chambers of Congress and the White House.
- Democrats have also discussed using reconciliation to pass a large infrastructure package under a potential Biden Administration.
- Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Greg Walden (R-OR), Kevin Brady (R-TX), and Kay Granger (R-TX) introduced the Commitment to Defeat the Virus and Keep America Healthy Act (H.R. 14) to provide relief for COVID-19. According to a press release, the targeted relief bill consists of over 50 bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee bills, and would:
- Strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile.
- Ensure Americans can access telehealth and mental health services.
- Reinforce domestic healthcare supply chains.
- Improve public health infrastructure.
- Address COVID-19 disparities, the opioid epidemic, and substance abuse.
- Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) introduced the Curbing Abuse and Saving Expression in Technology Act, or CASE-IT Act (H.R. 8719), to make Section 230 liability protections conditional for tech companies.
- As stated in a press release, the bill would distinguish between big and small tech companies, requiring big tech platforms to follow a First Amendment standard for content moderation to protect free speech and children online.
- The Air Force recently bought 57 drones from Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI), a Chinese company and the world’s largest maker of unmanned aerial systems (UAS). These drones will be used to inform airmen on how foreign drones can be used against the U.S. and provide training on how to defeat them.
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened applications for the Fiscal Year 2021 Military Airport Program (MAP) through December 17. MAP provides funding to former military airports and joint-use military airfields to increase civilian aviation capacity through construction and repair projects.
- Congress typically appropriates $10M annually for MAP.
- The European Union may postpone their digital tax on tech companies to allow more time for global negotiations, according to a draft document of conclusions from the E.U. finance ministers meeting next month. The draft, which has not been made immediately public, “asks the [European] Commission to contribute to the preparatory work in the [European] Council on the way forward at EU level in case there is no international consensus by mid-2021.”
- This draft comes as negotiations at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have failed to reach a deal this year.
- Northern European countries generally support postponing the tax to allow more time for negotiations, while France favors moving ahead with the tax. As a reminder, France will begin to collect its own digital tax in December.
- Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it will continue its suspension of cruise voyages through December 31. Norwegian had previously only cancelled cruises through November.
- This announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifted its no-sail order for cruises and created conditional resumption phases effective October 31.
- United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country would go into its second lockdown from November 5 to December 2. British citizens must stay at home except for healthcare, school and groceries. Pubs, bars, and restaurants will be limited to takeout service. Parliament will vote on the lockdown proposal on Wednesday, which is expected to pass.
- These new restrictions only apply to England, as Scotland, Wales, and North Ireland have their own rules.
- A federal judge in Philadelphia granted a temporary injunction related to the Administration’s order to ban TikTok from using internet hosting services and content delivery services. The judge determined that these restrictions, which were set to go into effect on November 12, would irreparably harm content creators and their ability to interact with their followers and brand sponsors.
This ruling, in addition to the previous ruling that postponed the Administration’s order to ban TikTok from app stores, means that TikTok will be able to operate in the U.S. normally as other lawsuits continue through the court system.