Democrats Request Information from Kushner on Health Data Collection

On April 10, Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sent a letter requesting information from the Trump administration on White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner’s working with technology companies to use health data for a national coronavirus surveillance system. The letter supports the Department of Health and Human Services’s (HHS) recent move to ease the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) rules, but notes “these extraordinary measures could undermine the confidentiality and security of our health information and become the new status quo.” Find the letter here.

HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021 Reaches OMB

As of April 17, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2021 is under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Find more information here.

FDA Wants to Develop Master Protocol for COVID-19 Vaccine Trials; Adds COVID-19 Could Affect User Fee Goals

On April 16, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner, Stephen Hahn, announced that the FDA wants to develop a master protocol for COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials so that multiple vaccines can be developed more efficiently. Hahn added that the FDA might consider relaxing direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising for any future FDA-approved COVID-19 drugs, if it is decided that the value and the benefits outweigh the risks. Hahn also commented that the FDA continues to meet its user fee commitments but signaled that could change due to staffers’ focusing on COVID-19, coming as FDA is unable to hold in-person user fee negotiations and has postponed indefinitely its medical device user fee meeting.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.

The Latest

The House and Senate leaders announced this week that neither chamber will return on April 20 as originally scheduled and instead plan to reconvene on May 4. As the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ran out of funds today, the Senate remains at an impasse on the Treasury Department’s request for an additional $250 billion for the CARES Act program. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to call for a clean authorization, while congressional Democrats push to include more funding for the healthcare system and states and localities, among other emergency measures. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin spoke on Wednesday morning ahead of a meeting between House and Senate Democratic staff and Treasury staff to discuss a potential path forward.

Even if the Senate were to reach an agreement that could pass by unanimous consent, it would almost certainly stall in the House, where Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has pledged to seek a recorded vote on any legislation. In that case, no bill could pass without a quorum of House members present, which is unlikely to happen until the House reconvenes.

Yesterday, Senate Democrats released a Roadmap to Reopening by Ensuring a Speedy and Ubiquitous Lab Testing System (RESULTS). The plan includes six components: requiring a strategic plan to leverage a “whole of society response”; emergency funding to enable rapid scaling of testing and the full range of activities that support testing to maximize its impact; a pipeline to develop, validate, and allocate accurate, reliable tests to ensure adequate supply; structures to administer tests in every community across the country; robust public health infrastructure to respond to results and better contain COVID-19; and transparency and accountability across the testing system.

On Tuesday, the President announced the creation of 17 so-called Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups that will work with the White House to bolster the economy. The groups represent the agriculture, banking, construction/labor/workforce, defense, energy, financial services, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, real estate, retail, tech, telecommunications, transportation, and sports sectors. A final group of thought leaders includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, economist Art Laffer, and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, among others.

Elsewhere, the President and federal agencies continue to take steps to respond to the outbreak, including, but not limited to:

  • The President signed a Presidential Memorandum on Providing Federal Support for Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 in Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Vermont.
  • The Treasury Department published information for state, local, and tribal governments to access $150 billion in relief provided by the CARES Act. Materials must be submitted by April 17.
  • The Treasury Department published an Interim Final Rule on Additional Eligibility Criteria and Requirements for Certain Pledges of Loans for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and updated FAQs on the program. The Small Business Administration (SBA) also published a report on PPP approvals through April 13.
  • The Federal Reserve announced the PPP Liquidity Facility is operational and available to provide liquidity to eligible financial institutions.
  • Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched the Get My Payment app for taxpayers who filed returns in 2018 or 2019 but did not provide banking information to submit information necessary to receive Economic Impact Payments electronically.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced $10 billion has been awarded to airports pursuant to the CARES Act and published FAQs and a presentation on the grants. DOT also published a list and map of the awards by airport.
  • The Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide.
  • The Department of Education announced the application process for states to apply for $3 billion in emergency block grant funding through the CARES Act Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it is beginning to deliver an initial $30 billion in CARES Act relief to providers.

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

What’s Next

The Treasury Department, on behalf of the Administration, and congressional Democrats are continuing to discuss a path to potentially authorizing additional funds for the PPP, but it remains to be seen if or how an agreement would reach the President’s desk. In the meantime, the Administration will continue to implement the many financial assistance programs authorized by the CARES Act. When Congress does return, it is expected to take up a Phase 4 bill that will likely serve as “CARES 2,” extending and expanding upon many of the programs authorized by the third phase of coronavirus response legislation. At this time, that bill is not likely to reach the President’s desk until mid-May at the earliest now that Congress has delayed its return to Washington until May 4.

Relevant Resources

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

Trump Administration: Hospitals and Doctors Receiving Stimulus Funding Cannot Send Patients Surprise Bills
On April 9, the Trump administration announced that hospitals receiving money from the $2 trillion stimulus bill will have to agree not to send “surprise” medical bills to patients treated for COVID-19. The stimulus bill includes $100 billion for the health care system, and release of the first $30 billion, aimed at hospitals, is expected soon. Hospitals that accept the grants will have to certify that they will not try to collect more money than the patient would have otherwise owed if the medical attention had been provided in network. Find more details from the McGuireWoods team here.

FDA Grants Emergency Use to Blood Cleaning Device for Coronavirus
On April 10, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for a blood purification system intended for coronavirus patients whose immune systems overreact to the virus. The system has components made by Terumo BCT and Marker Therapeutics and is intended for adults admitted to intensive care who are experiencing or have impending respiratory failure.

HHS, FEMA Ask States to Take Control of Drive-Through Testing Sites
On April 9, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a memo wanting states to consider taking control of drive-through coronavirus testing sites, currently run by HHS and FEMA, that have tested more than 77,000 people to date. HHS officials reiterated that the federal government will continue to operate the sites if governors request such assistance, and said that HHS would not hold states to the deadline listed in the memo from last week. Find the memo here.

HHS Waives HIPAA Penalties at Community-Based Testing Sites
On April 9, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights loosened its enforcement of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules, announcing it will not impose penalties on covered entities or business associates that exercise good faith at COVID-19 testing sites, during the pandemic. The enforcement discretion is effective immediately and is retroactively applied to March 13, 2020. The announcement is meant to allow certain covered providers, including large pharmacy chains, and their business associates to participate in community based-testing sites. Find more details here.

HHS: Guidance for Licensed Pharmacists, COVID-19 Testing, and Immunity under the PREP Act
On April 8, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released guidance that states pharmacists will qualify as “covered persons” under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, and they may receive immunity with respect to claims for loss caused by, arising out of, relating to or resulting from the administration or use of FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests. The guidance does not change reimbursement policy regarding whether a licensed pharmacist can get reimbursed from a government or private payer for ordering or administering an FDA-authorized test. Find the final guidance here.

CMS: Open Payments Dispute Timeframe Will Not Change Due to COVID-19
On April 8, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, statutory requirement for Open Payments data publication and resource constraints limit CMS’s ability to deviate from the established schedule. Therefore, the covered recipient pre-publication review and dispute period will remain April 1-May 15, 2020.

CMS: No Changes to Interest on Accelerated Medicare Pay
On April 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) responded to hospitals’ asking CMS to waive or lower the interest on advanced payments that providers request under the Medicare accelerated pay program. CMS announced that it does not have the authority to waive or change the interest rate on Medicare debts, including those repayments. The response also added that hospitals would have a year before the 10.25 percent interest rate kicks in.

FCC Approves Plan for $200 Million COVID-19 Telehealth Program
On April 3, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a plan to use $200 million allocated by Congress for a grant program for hospitals and health system providers aiming to use telehealth in their COVID-19 response. The FCC will begin reviewing applications today, April 13. The $200 million comes from the third coronavirus stimulus package signed into law on March 27. Providers would be able to use a streamlined application to apply for funding to fully cover their telehealth needs, from broadband connectivity to devices. Eligible providers may be in postsecondary education programs, including teaching hospitals, community health centers, local health departments or agencies, community mental health clinics, nonprofit hospitals, rural health clinics and skilled nursing facilities. Providers that are selected would not be responsible for the costs of their telehealth projects, officials said, and would be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted or the pandemic ends. Keep updated on the FCC response to telehealth and COVID-19 here.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.

The Latest

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the $349 billion CARES Act loan program for small businesses and eligible individuals, launched last Friday to overwhelming demand. This week, the Treasury Department asked Congress to authorize an additional $250 billion for the program. This morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made a unanimous consent request to authorize the additional funds. Senate Democrats objected and sought an amendment that would have authorized the additional $250 billion, but also provided an additional $100 billion for health provider relief, additional funding for state, local, and tribal governments, a 15% increase to the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit, and modifications to CARES Act state election assistance funding. McConnell objected, so neither proposal advanced.

Had the Senate authorized additional funding, it would have likely stalled in the House, where it would have been impossible to approve by unanimous consent and nearly impossible to gather a quorum of lawmakers to return to Washington for a recorded vote. It remains to be seen how or if Congress will try to authorize additional PPP funding before it is scheduled to return to Washington on April 20.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve took steps this morning to implement additional CARES Act assistance and relief programs. The Treasury Department launched the Main Street Business Lending Program for mid-size companies with up to 10,000 employees; more information is available here. The Federal Reserve took a number of actions to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support various aspects of the economy; more information is available here.

Elsewhere, the President and federal agencies continue to take other steps to respond to the outbreak, including, but not limited to:

  • President Trump approved more disaster declarations for DelawareSouth DakotaNew MexicoOklahomaMississippiMinnesota, and Vermont.
  • The Treasury Department updated FAQs on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  • Treasury also published Q&A on loans to air carriers and eligible businesses and national security businesses under the CARES Act and opened the online application process. The Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Final Order on minimum service requirements for airlines receiving aid under the CARES Act.
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) sent guidance to states to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Insurance program and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that $186 million will be made available to state and local jurisdictions for additional resources to respond to COVID-19. HHS also announced that it is purchasing rapid point-of-care COVID-19 tests for state, territorial, and public health labs.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated its recommendations to limit non-emergent, elective treatment, and preventative medical services for patients.
  • The Indian Health Service (IHS) announced it is expanding access to telehealth services across IHS federal facilities.

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

What’s Next

It remains to be seen when or if Congress will take up additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) before it is scheduled to return to Washington the week of April 20. Some lawmakers are beginning to cast doubts that Congress will return that week, however. When Congress is back in session, it is expected to take up a fourth phase of coronavirus response legislation, which some are calling CARES 2. While House Democrats and President Trump initially supported including infrastructure investment and other major economic stimulus programs in Phase 4, it is more likely to extend and expand upon CARES Act provisions related to unemployment benefits, paid sick, family, and medical leave, and funding for the healthcare system and states and localities.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

OTC Monograph Reform Signed into Law as Part of COVID-19 Stimulus
On March 27, President Trump signed into law Congress’s phase three COVID-19 stimulus bill that includes a measure to reform the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) over-the-counter (OTC) drug monograph regulatory framework. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) also includes a measure allowing consumers to use flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) to purchase OTC drugs and menstrual products. The bill’s OTC monograph reform language establishes user fees for OTC drug products, allows for 18 months of exclusivity for innovative OTC drugs and changes the way FDA responds to OTC drug safety issues. The stimulus bill also strikes language from the Internal Revenue Code that only allows prescription drugs to count as qualified medical expenses to be paid for with HSAs and FSAs. Removing that language now allows OTC drugs to again be considered qualified medical expenses.

FCC: Proposed Plan for $200 Million COVID-19 Telehealth Program
On March 30, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) chairman, Ajit Pai, released a plan to use $200 million allocated by Congress for a grant program for hospitals and health system providers aiming to use telehealth in their COVID-19 response. The $200 million comes from the third coronavirus stimulus package signed into law on March 27. Providers would be able to use a streamlined application to apply for funding to fully cover their telehealth needs, from broadband connectivity to devices.

Eligible providers may be in postsecondary education programs, including teaching hospitals, community health centers, local health departments or agencies, community mental health clinics, nonprofit hospitals, rural health clinics and skilled nursing facilities. Providers that are selected would not be responsible for the costs of their telehealth projects, officials said, and would be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted or the pandemic ends. The plan still has to be adopted by the commission—find the announcement here. Keep updated on the FCC response to telehealth and COVID-19 here.

FDA Makes Exceptions to Blood Collection Processes for COVID-19, Reduces Deferral Periods
On April 2, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would make exceptions to standard blood donation procedures and allow donation sites to follow alternative processes for releasing blood donations throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA will allow blood donor sites to follow alternative processes for releasing donations found to be unsuitable after donation, and the FDA has temporarily reduced the quarantine time for release of plasma donations by 15 days, from 60 to 45 days. The exceptions will only apply to the COVID-19 pandemic, though the FDA is considering whether it would be appropriate to extend the exceptions beyond the pandemic. Find the guidance here.

FDA Starts Program to Speed Review, Development of COVID-19 Drugs
On March 31, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a program to speed reviews of COVID-19 treatments and support research on COVID-19 drugs. The Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) will provide rapid review of, and input on, drug and biologic development plans. The FDA will quickly respond to requests for investigational drug access and work with applicants and other regulatory agencies to avoid supply disruptions by transferring manufacturing to alternative sites. The FDA plans to review single patient expanded access requests within three hours. To support the program, FDA will redeploy medical and regulatory staff to COVID-19 therapy review teams, involve senior management in submission review, streamline the process for submitting inquiries and provide resources to help providers and researchers submit emergency requests for investigational products. Find more information here.

FDA Adds Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine to Drug Shortage List
On March 31, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added the anti-malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to the drug shortage list. Though the FDA has not yet approved chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, there has been an increased demand for the drug to treat COVID-19 patients and for use in clinical trials. The drugs are in short supply, especially for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, conditions for which hydroxychloroquine is FDA-approved to treat.

CMS: Regulatory Changes to Help U.S. Health Care System Address COVID-19 Patient Surge
On March 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) lifted safety rules and other regulations to give hospitals more flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including allowing them to move patients to makeshift off-site locations and reducing the amount of supervision required for certain nonphysicians to provide services. The new policies, in place for the duration of the public health emergency, are aimed at increasing hospital capacity and expanding the health care workforce. These changes include a waiver of federal rules that require hospitals to provide services within their own buildings. The waiver will allow hospitals to transfer some patients to locations such as hotels, dormitories and gymnasiums while still receiving hospital payments under Medicare. The new waiver will allow communities to convert unconventional sites into hospitals, without relying on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The policies are being implemented through a series of waivers and a wide-ranging rule here.

Read more on healthcare policy in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.

The Latest

Shortly after it passed the House last Friday, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law. Federal agencies, under tight deadlines, are beginning to roll out guidance and other procedures for businesses and individuals to access the financial assistance available under the new law. Notably, important information for the Paycheck Protection Program, which will provide up to $349 billion in loans to small businesses and eligible nonprofits, as well as self-employed individuals and independent contractors, is available as follows:

Elsewhere, the President and federal agencies continue to take other steps to respond to the outbreak, including, but not limited to:

  • The President has approved disaster declarations for states and territories nationwide to make funding available to state, local, and tribal governments and certain nonprofits to respond to the pandemic. He also signed several Presidential Memoranda to provide federal support for Governors’ use of the National Guard in several of the hardest hit states.
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched the Employer Retention Credit, 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.
  • The Treasury Department and IRS published FAQs to help small and midsize businesses navigate paid sick and family leave tax credits.
  • The Department of Labor (DOL) announced a temporary rule implementing new paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued several Emergency Use Authorizations to expand access to certain drugs and medical equipment.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued temporary waivers and new rules to provide the healthcare system with additional flexibility to respond to the pandemic.

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

What’s Next

Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington until the week of April 20. In the meantime, congressional leaders are already discussing the parameters for a fourth phase of coronavirus response legislation, which is expected to focus on stimulating the economy and providing additional relief to individuals and certain sectors. House Democrats have floated including infrastructure investment in that legislation; President Trump also endorsed incorporating $2 trillion for infrastructure this week.

Relevant Resources

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

President Trump Signs “Phase Three” COVID-19 Stimulus Bill

On March 27, President Trump signed H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Earlier the same day, the House passed the economic stimulus bill by voice vote, and the Senate passed the bill with a vote of 96-0 the week before. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the budget impact of the bill to be about $591 billion over the next decade. The legislation would provide roughly $250 billion in rebate checks to most Americans, help struggling businesses meet payrolls and enhance state and local relief efforts. Find the bill text here.

HHS Tells States to Use Emergency Powers to Expand Providers’ Scope

On March 24, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asked governors to expand access to providers during the COVID-19 emergency by relaxing provider licensure and supervision requirements and increasing liability protections. HHS asked states to allow health professionals licensed or certified in one state to practice in other states either in-person or over telemedicine. HHS asked governors to waive state licensure or certification fees and to work with state licensure boards to put a moratorium on scope of practice limits.

HHS Warns of Medicare Fraud with Fake COVID-19 Tests

On March 23, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General warned that scammers are targeting Medicare beneficiaries with promises of illegitimate COVID-19 tests in order to steal beneficiaries’ medical information and fraudulently bill federal health care programs. The fake treatments are being offered through telemarketing calls, social media platforms and door-to-door visits. Find more information here.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Washington Healthcare Update.

The CARES Act contains several provisions related to education. The U.S. Education Department (USED) will receive $30.9 billion total, of which $30.75 billion will go directly to states, local school districts, and institutions of higher education “to help schools, students, teachers, and families with immediate needs related to coronavirus.” Those funds are as follows:

$3 billion for the “Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund” to make in additional grants to elementary and secondary education schools and institutions of higher education that have been most significantly impacted by coronavirus—with the goal of ensuring the ongoing functionality of schools and institutions. USED Secretary DeVos will invite governors to apply for funds not later than 30 days of enactment of the bill, and will approve (or deny) applications no later than 30 days after receipt. The money allocated to states is based on 60 percent of their relative population of individuals ages 5-24, and 40 percent of their relative number of children counted under section 1124(c) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (i.e., children ages 5-17 who are: below the poverty line; neglected, delinquent, or in foster homes; and, above the poverty line).

$13.5 billion in funding for the “Elementary and Secondary Education School Emergency Relief Fund” with 12 permissible, wide-ranging uses of those funds such as principal and school leader support, purchasing education technology (e.g., hardware, software, connectivity), continuing to employ existing staff, etc. Similar to the Governor’s Fund, USED Secretary DeVos will invite State Education Agencies to apply within 30 days of enactment of the bill. Of those funds allocated to states, not less than 90 percent will be directed to Local Education Agencies through the Title I, Part A formula of ESEA.

$14.25 billion in funding for the “Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund” to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus, excluding payment to contractors for pre-enrollment recruitment activities, endowments, or capital outlays associated with facilities related to athletics, sectarian instruction, or religious worship. Not less than 90 percent of those funds will be directed to higher education institutions through the Title IV formula of the Higher Education Act and apportioned by 75 percent according to the relative share of full-time equivalent enrollment of Federal Pell Grant recipients (who are not exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to this emergency) and 25 percent according to the relative share of full-time equivalent enrollment of students who were not Federal Pell Grant recipients (who are not exclusively enrolled in distance education courses prior to the emergency).

There is additional funding directed to Project SERV ($100 million); Howard University ($13 million); Gallaudet University ($7 million); Student Aid Administration ($40 million); and the Office of the Inspector General ($7 million).

Other key education policy provisions include:

  • Requires the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments, principal, and interest for 6 months without penalty;
  • Waives the institutional matching requirement for campus-based aid programs (e.g., GEAR UP);
  • Allows institutions to transfer unused work-study funds to be used for supplement grants;
  • Allows institutions to issue work-study payments to students who are unable to work due to work-place closures as a lump sum or in payments similar to paychecks;
  • Excludes the term from counting toward lifetime Pell eligibility for students who dropped out of school as a result of the coronavirus;
  • Provides the Secretary of Education with waiver authority to provide waivers from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, except civil rights laws; and,
  • Requires the academic year to be counted towards TEACH grant obligations or Teacher Loan Forgiveness, if teachers could not finish the year of teaching service as a result of the coronavirus.

Read more about COVID-19’s impact on education on McGuireWoods Consulting’s website.

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.

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.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

On March 25, 2020, the Senate passed a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The House is expected to pass the bill on Friday.

Visit the McGuireWoods Consulting website for a full summary of the major business provisions in the bill, including:

  • Direct Financial Support
  • Tax and Debt Provisions
  • Unemployment Insurance and Paid Leave