COVID-19 Update | Thursday, March 19 (AM)
March 19, 2020
- Last night, President Trump signed into law H.R. 6201, the second COVID-19 relief package. The House initially passed this package passed last Friday and again on Monday after making technical corrections. The Senate passed the corrected version Wednesday afternoon.
- As a reminder, this legislation provides many workers with up to two weeks of paid sick leave if they have been diagnosed, or are being treated for COVID-19. People who have been told by a doctor or government official to stay home because of the virus would also be eligible for the paid sick leave. The payments are capped at $511 per day.
- Workers with family members affected by COVID-19 and those whose children’s schools have been closed are eligible for up to two-thirds of their pay, capped at $200 per day.
- The White House continues to discuss the third package bill with Senate Republicans.
- President Trump is holding a call at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with Governors from across the nation today.
- The Administration has announced their plan to offer $50 billion in loans to airlines. This does not satisfy the airline request made earlier this week, which was a combination of grants and loans.
- As relayed yesterday, the Administration has asked Congress for $46 billion in supplemental funding for federal agencies. Three additional notes in the request:
- $21 million in emergency funding for various Department of Transportation (DOT) programs.
- $153 million to support Transportation Security Administration (TSA) operations.
- A $500 million bailout for Amtrak via grants to make up for revenue losses.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has expanded its trucking hours of service exemption to include drivers carrying medical supplies and paper products to stock stores, in addition to manufacturing materials.
- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) today officially published their notice of travel restrictions for the U.K. and Ireland.
- Senate Republicans continue drafting their trillion-dollar relief package. Majority Leader McConnell’s hope is to unveil the package as early as today and immediately begin negotiations with Minority Leader Schumer.
- Former Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), meanwhile, indicated that work on this third relief package could take until early next week.
- Senate Democrats continue to push for union/labor conditions and concerns in an airline bailout and have indicated they will not support an airline relief plan that does not include conditions to protect workers and consumers.
- House Democrats are drafting another stimulus relief package and have indicated this will be their counter-offer to the trillion-dollar Senate Republican package.
- Reports indicate that the House Democratic proposal may include additional unemployment insurance payments, expanded Medicaid coverage, an airline relief package, relief for homeowners and renters, support for small businesses, and more food security measures.
- House Democrats are holding a conference call this afternoon to discuss the package.
- Automakers across the country, including the big three U.S. manufacturers Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler Automotive (FCA), as well as Honda and others have announced plans to suspend manufacturing through the end of the month.
- Leaders from the manufacturers and the United Auto Workers are working together on plans to re-open their factories in a way that complies with social distancing and cleaning protocols.
- Tesla is trying to keep its factory in Fremont, CA open at limited capacity despite calls for it to be closed.
- The New York Stock Exchange plans on closing its trading floor this coming Monday.
- Two Members of Congress, Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL) and Ben McAdams (D-UT), have tested positive for COVID-19, as have other employees at the Department of Homeland Security.
- Representative Dan Lipinski (D-IL), a top Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, lost his primary.
- Delta has parked more than 600 jets and is cutting corporate pay by as much as 50%.
- Two cruise ships have been prohibited from disembarking in Honolulu after being turned away by other ports – there were no positive cases of COVID-19 on either ship.
- The White House Coronavirus Task Force is scheduled to meet at 11am this morning.
- Reports continue to indicate that 4.6 million travel and tourism industry jobs could be eliminated as a result of COVID-19, more than 25 percent of the 15.8 million Americans who work in the sector.