Coronavirus: The Hill and the Headlines – COVID-19 D.C. Update – September 2020 #17

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

In Washington

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met Monday and Tuesday in one more attempt at forging another coronavirus relief deal. House Democrats Monday evening released their revised US$2.2 version of The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act 2.0. "We have been able to make critical additions and reduce the cost of the bill by shortening the time covered for now," Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to Democratic colleagues Monday. Democrats may vote on the bill as early as Wednesday if talks with the administration go nowhere. Some of the provisions in the scaled-back bill includes:
    • Stimulus checks for most Americans.
    • Extend the Payroll Support Program.
    • Provides US$600 weekly unemployment benefit.
    • ProvidesUS$225 to schools including US$182 to k-12 and US$39 billion for colleges.
    • Provides US$436 billion in state and local aid. US$238 bill will go to states and the District of Columbia; US$179 will be divided evenly between municipalities and counties.
    • US$120 billion will go to restaurants creating a “restaurant stabilization fund.”
    • It would authorize US$25 billion in grants to passenger airlines, US$3 billion to airline contractors, and US$300 million to cargo airlines for the sole purpose of paying workers and keeping them employed.
    • Airports would get US$13.5 billion.
    • Transit agencies would get US$32 billion, which includes US$2.5 billion for projects that have received funding under the Capital Investment Grants program and US$1 billion for rural and paratransit providers.
    • Amtrak would receive US$2.4 billion, including US$569 million to help states and commuter rail providers make statutorily required payments to Amtrak for state-supported routes and commuter rail service on the Northeast Corridor.
  • To see the Bill text: HEROS Act (September update) click here.
  • To see Bill summary: HEROS Act (September update) click here.
  • To see State and Local Aid: HEROS Act (September update) click here.
  • To see the Section-by-section summary: HEROS Act (September update) click here.
  • Top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this summer to downplay the risk of sending children back to school. As part of the political intervention, the CDC also was in a search for “alternate data showing that the pandemic was weakening and posed little danger to children.” The effort included Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, and officials working for Vice President Mike Pence, who led the task force.
  • Only 19 percent of Americans would take a first-generation coronavirus vaccine if President Trump told them it was safe, according to a new Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index survey. Given eight scenarios and asked how likely they were to try the vaccine in each case, respondents were most inclined if their doctor (62 percent) or the FDA (54 percent) vouched for its safety, or if their insurance covered the full cost (56 percent). Asked who should receive a vaccine first, respondents gave priority to health care workers, followed by residents of assisted living facilities, people over 65, and teachers. They ranked themselves and those under 30 last.
  • The Senate is expected to approve Wednesday a House-passed continuing resolution that extends current government funding levels, with some exceptions, through Dec. 11. The vote would come just a few hours from the midnight Wednesday deadline to avert a partial government shutdown.
  • President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are taking part in the first presidential debate this evening. They're meeting at 9 p.m. in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University. Fox News’ Chris Wallace will moderate the event.

In the News

  • The coronavirus pandemic has now killed at least 1 million people worldwide according to Johns Hopkins University. This sobering marker comes nine months after the first reported fatality in China in January. Public health experts believe the actual toll, including unrecorded deaths, is much higher. The U.S., India, and Brazil have the most coronavirus cases, in that order. For comparison, the 1918 flu pandemic killed between 25 and 50 million people.
  • Three players and five staffers with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans tested positive for COVID-19, forcing two NFL teams off the practice field on Tuesday, the league and players union announced. Both the Titans and Minnesota Vikings, who hosted both teams this past Sunday in Minneapolis, “will suspend in-person club activities starting today,” according to the joint statement. Whether upcoming games will be played remains unclear.
  • New York City will impose fines on people who refuse to wear a face-covering in public, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday, as he announced that the rate of positive tests for the coronavirus had climbed above 3% in the city for the first time in months. In some hotspots the positivity rate was 17%.
  • The movie theater sector continues to suffer. Warner Bros.′ “Wonder Woman 1984” moved from October to December, and “Black Widow,” one of Disney’s Marvel films, shifted its November release to May 2021. There are fears that MGM’s new James Bond film, “No Time to Die,” and Pixar’s “Soul,” which both debut on Nov. 20, will also be delayed. And now fall and winter threaten a coronavirus resurgence. “There is a likelihood that theaters may again shut down and that layoffs may recur,” said Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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