COVID-19 Washington Update: July 2020 #9

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Below, please find a summary of the federal government’s activities in response to COVID-19 since Wednesday’s update. Our next update will be published Monday, July 27th.

Congress

Following a week of intraparty negotiations, the release of Senate Republicans’ next COVID relief package has been postponed until Monday – further delaying bipartisan negotiations and increasing the likelihood that a final agreement won’t be reached until early August.

In remarks on the Senate floor Thursday evening, Republican Leader McConnell (R-KY) announced that Senate Republicans and the administration had reached an agreement in principle on “CARES 2.0,” but said the White House requested more time to review the details. Leader McConnell said the package would focus on “kids, jobs, and healthcare” and that key committees would release their various legislative components on Monday.

Highlights of the expected $1 trillion proposal include:

  • Kids: More than $100 billion in funding as well as policy provisions to help schools and universities reopen; assistance for childcare providers
  • Jobs: A second round of direct payments; a “sequel” to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for the hardest hit small businesses; an extension – with modifications – of the temporary enhanced unemployment insurance program; and business incentives for employee retention and rehiring, as well as assistance for PPE
  • Healthcare: More resources for hospitals and healthcare workers; additional funding for diagnostics, treatment, vaccines; and policies to prevent spikes in Medicare premiums
  • Liability reform

Earlier today, Senate Democratic Leader Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) issued a joint statement criticizing the delay and urging bipartisan negotiations as quickly as possible. Adding to the urgency is the expiration of some key CARES Act provisions, including the $600 per week enhanced unemployment benefit set to expire July 31 and a temporary moratorium on evictions that expires today.

And in comments on the House floor today, Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) said the House would be prepared to vote on a bipartisan relief bill as soon as it is ready – and that he would provide Members with 24 hours’ notice to return to Washington should the House not be in session.

Finally, next week, the House will take up two standalone bills to provide additional emergency funding to support childcare providers during the pandemic: H.R. 7027, the Child Care Is Essential Act and H.R. 7327, the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act.

Below is a listing of COVID-related Congressional hearings scheduled for next week:

Senate

  • A July 28 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing entitled, “Oversight of COVID-19 Financial Relief Packages”
  • A July 28 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management Subcommittee) hearing entitled, “Modernizing Telework: Review of Private Sector Telework Policies during the COVID-19 Pandemic”
  • A July 28 Senate Finance Committee hearing entitled, “Part 1: Protecting the Reliability of the U.S. Medical Supply Chain During the COVID-19 Pandemic”
  • A July 29 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing entitled, “Lessons Learned from Remote Working during COVID-19: Can the Government Save Money Through Maximizing Efficient Use of Leased Space?”
  • A July 29 Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing entitled, “VA Telehealth During and Beyond COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities in Rural America”
  • A July 30 Senate Finance Committee hearing entitled, “Part 2: Protecting the Reliability of the U.S. Medical Supply Chain During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

House

  • A July 29 House Small Business Committee (Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship Subcommittee) hearing entitled, “Kick Starting Entrepreneurship and Main Street Economic Recovery”
  • A July 30 House Financial Services Committee hearing entitled, “Protecting Consumers During the Pandemic? An Examination of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau”

Recent Congressional Statements / Letters

Other Stakeholder Statements / Letters

White House / Agency Activity
White House

Health and Human Services

Food and Drug Administration

National Institutes of Health

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Department of Labor

Department of Homeland Security

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Federal Trade Commission

State / Local Activity
Given the plethora of state and local actions, we recommend MultiState’s COVID-19 Policy Tracker as a comprehensive tool to monitor the response

[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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