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COVID-19 Update | Wednesday, March 18 (PM-2)

March 18, 2020


  • The White House Office of Management and Budget released the attached letter seeking $46 billion to replenish funds for certain agencies who are expending the most resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The $46 billion request includes a total of $8.3 billion for emergency response efforts through the Department of Defense, $16.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, $11.5 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services and $3.2 billion for Homeland Security, among others.


  • The Senate passed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, in a 90-8 vote without changes from the version the House passed by unanimous consent on Monday. The “no” votes came from Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), James Lankford (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Ron Johnson (R-WI). The legislation now heads to President Trump’s desk for signature.
  • The Senate now turns its attention to the next package which will be the largest so far and is expected to include industry-specific relief. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated that the Senate will stay in session until this third package is passed. Once the Senate passes the legislation, the House will have to return to Washington, DC to pass it as well before it can be signed by President Trump.
    • Republican and Democratic Task Forces have been formed in the Senate to expedite drafting of these relief packages and include Committee leaders from each party.
    • Committees are seeking input from various stakeholders that fall under their jurisdiction on everything from aviation, travel and tourism, and other industry relief, to broadband infrastructure and even potentially surface transportation reauthorization components.
  • The House has begun to consider ideas for additional legislative packages and Speaker Pelosi has begun to solicit ideas. The next House package will likely focus on government revenue. There are likely to be more relief packages.

Other News

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6 percent on Wednesday. This most recent drop has almost completely erased the indexes gains since President Trump took office. The S&P 500 also fell today, at one point falling as much as 7%, triggering the automatic circuit breaker of the exchange and halting trading for 15 minutes. The overall market pushed upwards towards the end of the day.
  • Ford and General Motors (GM) announced today that they will be halting production at all North American plants through March 30.
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