COVID-19 Federal Updates: April 21
Updated: Jun 9
New federal legislation is expected to approach $500 billion to deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Democratic lawmakers are demanding $30 billion for a national coronavirus testing program and $150 billion to fund state and local governments that have seen costs soar and revenues drop over the past month and a half; the local government issue is said to be contentious.
As of Monday evening, the $470 billion package is expected to include $370 billion to replenish the small business loan program, with $75 billion going to hospitals, and $25 billion set aside for testing.
Senator Rick Scott (FL) said in a statement on Monday that larger companies are qualifying for small business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and he recommended changes in the program.
Senator Marco Rubio (FL) also expressed concern about reports of misuse by applicants of the PPP, announcing the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, which he chairs, will conduct oversight many months from now to determine “whether companies made false certifications to the federal government to receive PPP loans.”
The U.S., Mexico, and Canada have each agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across shared borders for 30 additional days.
On Monday, the President said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic. He offered no details as to what immigration programs might be affected by the order. The possible move would very likely prompt legal challenges.
Now effective, a U.S. Department of Defense travel extension order was approved through June 30 to aid in the further prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
The Census Bureau announced recently it is seeking statutory relief from Congress for 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts for the 2020 Census.
Oil prices sunk to their lowest level in history Monday, dropping into negative pricing as supplies overwhelm the globe’s storage capacity.