COVID-19 Federal Updates: May 6, 2020
Updated: Jun 9
U.S. deaths from the novel coronavirus surged past 70,000 on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally.
Nearly 1.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 - more than the combined total of the next largest outbreaks in Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
The White House is in the early stages of winding down its coronavirus task force, Vice President Mike Pence's office confirmed Tuesday.
Vice President Pence, who has led the task force for two months, said it would probably wrap up its work around the end of the May, and shift management of the public health response back to the federal agencies whose work it was created to coordinate.
U.S. House Democratic leaders have resolved to push for $25 billion in funding for the U.S. Postal Service in the next coronavirus relief bill.
In the House, chairs of the committees were asked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday to submit priorities to the Speaker's office by Friday for inclusion in the fourth stimulus package.
A fourth stimulus package may happen before legislative work on the FY 21 appropriations bills begin.
Senator Rob Portman discussed reforms he believes are needed for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including making it inclusive of those with past criminal records and ensuring business support is given in “the most targeted way possible.”
Portman noted the PPP will run out of funding again in the coming days, and answered a press question by agreeing that data on recipients should be made public as long as the level of disclosure does not harm small businesses.
He also called for the program to be changed to offer more flexibility to support small businesses that will not reopen for some time, such as restaurants.
Ohio members of Congress want Ohioans who can’t access the internet to be able to track the economic stimulus payments the federal government is issuing to help people pay their bills during the coronavirus pandemic.
They’d like the IRS to consider creating a telephone hotline for those who can’t access the agency’s online portal, or to let congressional offices work with IRS liaisons to update information for their constituents.
Two businessmen have been charged with defrauding the federal relief program meant to help small businesses pay their employees during the pandemic, U.S. Department of Justice officials announced Tuesday.
The Census Bureau is to resume some 2020 census field operations in select locations. Click here.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury and Small Business Administration (SBA) released additional guidance regarding the Paycheck Protection Program:
Additional assistance promoted by the SBA includes:
Advising: The SBA Resource Partner Network for business resiliency readiness advising and training.
State Resources: Ohio government COVID-19 response and programs
The U.S. Treasury also updated guidance on the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to include answers to additional Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), including covering first responder payroll expenses.
In case you missed it, The Federal Reserve announced on April 30 that it is expanding the scope and eligibility for the Main Street Lending Program by creating a third loan option with increased risk sharing by lenders for borrowers with greater leverage (the Priority Loan Facility); lowering the minimum loan size for loans through the Main Street New Loan and Priority Loan Programs to $500,000; and changing the employee and revenue threshold sizes from 10,000 and $2.5B (2019 revenue) to 15,000 and $5B (2019 revenue), respectively.
Business that are ineligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are now ineligible for any Main Street loan.
The Federal Reserve also issued FAQs which provide clarifications, such as requiring revenue and employee counts to include affiliates, and allowing eligible borrowers to receive multiple loans.
In addition, the Federal Reserve expanded access to its Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF) to additional lenders last week, and expanded the collateral that can be pledged.
The changes will facilitate lending to small businesses via the Small Business Administration's (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).