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COVID-19 Update | Tuesday, April 14

April 14, 2020


  • After our report yesterday that the House would not be in session again until at least May 4, the Senate has now extended its recess until then at the earliest as well, though routine Pro Forma sessions will continue.
  • Congress was aiming to strike a deal by Thursday in the Senate’s Pro Forma session; however, there have been no indications that a deal is likely by then.
  • Given the need to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by the end of the week, we still believe there is reasonable chance that a bill will pass this week. However, politics do have a way of getting in the way of things.
  • Those seeking relief through making 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations eligible for funding are likely to have to wait until a larger more comprehensive bill to address their concerns. There is support generally for inclusion, but there are several complications that need to be worked through.  
    • As previously reported, Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) sent a letter, along with an additional 60 congressional signatories, to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy requesting association relief.


  • The Treasury Department and airlines have reached a deal, in principle, to begin dispersing the $25 billion in payroll assistance funds from the CARES Act. Secretary Mnuchin indicated that Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, would accept federal support.
    • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin maintained his position that 30 percent of CARES Act funds distributed to airlines for payroll assistance must be paid back, though the initial interpretation was that these funds would be grants. Additionally, Secretary Mnuchin has insisted on stock warrants being included in any deal.
  • Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao announced that $10 billion in airport grants has been distributed as of Monday. The funds can be used to cover operating costs, debt payments, and capital expenditures, as airports have seen reduced cash flow from travel shutdowns.
    • The specific funding that was distributed and the Department of Transportation Press Release can be found here.
  • Secretary of Education Betsy Devos announced $3 billion in education grants that will be administered at the state level. The funds are a part of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, a provision of the CARES Act which includes $31 billion in total.
  • President Trump announced during the press conference that the United States will halt its contribution to the World Health Organization (WHO), totaling $450 million, while his Administration reviews the role of the WHO in the COVID-19 response.
    • Reports indicate that this move has been discussed over the past week within the White House Office of Management and Budget. There are two approaches that are being considered:
      • The Administration could reprogram that funds that are set aside for the WHO and divert them to other international organizations for comparable purposes. This is considered the most likely option.
      • Alternatively, the Administration could send a rescissions package to Congress rescinding funds allocated for the WHO from the federal budget. This was previously done in 2017 when the U.S. cut $285 million from its funding to the United Nations.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that has had some success in helping treat COVID-19, is a prohibited substance for pilots.
  • Federal Register Notices
    • Today, a Notice of the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council Meeting was issued in the Federal Register by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Part of the meeting, which will be taking place on May 18, 2020, will be a discussion of their COVID-19 panel. As a reminder, CISA is the agency that has been releasing guidance on industries that are considered essential during the pandemic. The notice can be found here.
    • A notice of a meeting of the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee of The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association was announced today. The meeting will surround the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and response on Treasury borrowing. The notice can be found here.
    • The Department of Labor is soliciting comments regarding the paid leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The notice can be found here.
  • The United States Export-Import (EXIM) Bank has extended relief measures for US exporters and financial institutions affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020. More information on the release that was issued today can be found here.
    • Additionally, the EXIM Board took action today against the COVID-19 pandemic by temporarily restricting export support for needed U.S. medical supplies and equipment. The full release that was issued today can be found here.

Other News

  • Following the lead of Northeast Governors yesterday, the Governors of California, Oregon, and Washington state have announced that they will also work in accordance with each other in the reopening of their economies.
  • Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that his state would join six other northeastern states in a working group to develop a return to action plan for the economy.
  • Political consultants are suing the Small Business Administration (SBA) over their exclusion from SBA’s CARES Act relief programs. SBA has rules against making loans to businesses that engage primarily in political or lobbying activities.
  • The International Monetary Fund reported that it predicts the COVID-19 pandemic will produce the worst global recession since the Great Depression.
  • Following a disaster declaration in Wyoming, for the first time in history, every US State is under a disaster declaration. The US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico are also under disaster declarations.
  • The US International Trade Commission is working on a report that identifies imported products needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Healthcare providers are expected to use 500 million N95 masks this year, nearly 20 times the number that were used last year.
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