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Mar 26, 2020

Emerging Technologies Washington Update - Coronavirus Update

The COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge both companies and governments as they navigate response and relief efforts. Throughout the week, we have continued to update some of the resources we have assembled to detail how both federal and state governments are responding to the outbreak. Many of these resources are linked below and will be updated on a regular basis. If there is anything the team can do to assist you now or in the future, please let us know.

The Latest

Early yesterday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced that following several days of negotiations with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and other Administration officials, they reached a deal on the third phase of coronavirus response legislation, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill passed the Senate last night 96-0 and now goes to the House for its consideration.

The CARES Act has two distinct sections. The first includes economic relief for both individuals and industry (primarily the aviation sector). Our summary can be found here. The second section will provide $340 billion in FY20 supplemental appropriations to support additional federal relief efforts. A summary is available here. The team is also preparing materials with information on how the private sector can access the relief provided in the CARES Act.

During negotiations leading up to the deal, House Democrats introduced their own third phase of coronavirus response legislation, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, as a way to formally inject their policy priorities into the conversation. A summary of that legislation is available here. While House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) conceded that not all of the bill’s policies would be included in the phase three bill, Democrats can be expected to seek to include them in the next phase, or phases, of legislation.

The President and federal agencies continue to take other steps to respond to the outbreak, including, most recently:

  • President Trump signed an Executive Order on Preventing Hoarding of Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19, delegating to the Secretary of Health and Human Services authority to prevent hoarding of certain resources and to implement any restrictions on hoarding.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a Federal Register notice that it has tentatively decided to extend through October 24 the coronavirus-related limited waiver of the minimum slot usage requirement at JFK, LGA, and DCA airports. Further, the FAA has tentatively decided to extend through October 24 its coronavirus-related policy for prioritizing flights canceled at designated International Air Transport Association (IATA) Level 2 airports in the US (ORD, EWR, LAX, SFO). Both policies were originally set to expire on May 31.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $100 million to over 1,300 health centers with funding provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided instructions to manufacturers to increase US supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) and devices.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced existing SBA disaster loan payments will be deferred through the end of 2020.
  • The White House announced the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to provide researchers worldwide with access to high performance computing resources to advance the pace of scientific discovery to stop the spread of coronavirus.

A thorough overview of both congressional and Administrative response efforts is available here and updated daily.

What’s Next

The House will pass the CARES Act tomorrow. The House Democratic and Republican conferences briefed members and staff on the legislation yesterday. Once the House passes the package, it will be cleared for the President’s signature.

After the CARES Act is signed into law, Congress will turn its attention fully to a fourth coronavirus response bill, which will serve as a vehicle for relief not provided in the third package. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has suggested there will also be a fifth package, but the timing for all future legislation remains in flux as lawmakers are not expected to resume regular business in Washington until at least April 20. This morning, Speaker Pelosi listed expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), more funding for state and local governments, pension smoothing, and increased funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as Democratic priorities for the next phase of legislation. 

MWC Resources

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