COVID-19 Washington Update: August 7, 2020
August 7, 2020
Below, please find a summary of the federal government’s activities in response to COVID-19 since Wednesday’s update, including the collapse of bipartisan negotiations on the next round of COVID relief legislation. Anticipating that the House and Senate will not be in session, we are suspending publishing of this update for the remainder of the month, although we will provide updates in the event of notable Executive Branch or Congressional action in the coming weeks.

Congress

Congressional leaders and Trump administration officials failed to meet a self-imposed deadline of today for an agreement on the next round of COVID-relief legislation. Negotiators left a last-ditch afternoon meeting indicating they remained far apart on the relief bill’s size and scope (Speaker Pelosi outlined some critical differences in a Dear Colleague earlier today). There are no additional talks scheduled.

In the absence of progress toward an agreement with Congressional Democrats, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he and White House Chief of Staff Meadows would recommend to President Trump that he take executive action to restore several expired CARES Act provisions – particularly those dealing with enhanced unemployment insurance, rental foreclosures, and student loan debt. President Trump has also said he would act unilaterally to impose a payroll tax holiday. Executive action could come as soon as this weekend.

Before the talks collapsed, Congressional Democrats said they were willing to bring their request down $1 trillion from their original $3.4 trillion proposal. Secretary Mnuchin called the offer a “non-starter,” with the administration and Congressional Republicans not wanting to increase their topline number much higher than $1 trillion, and certainly not in excess of $2 trillion. Democrats continue to reject a possible short-term deal.

Currently, neither chamber has plans to be back in Washington under after Labor Day – with the Democratic National Convention scheduled for August 17-20 and the Republican National Convention scheduled for August 24-27.

Recent Congressional Statements / Letters


Other Stakeholder Statements / Letters


White House / Agency Activity

White House


Department of the Treasury


Department of Labor


Department of Health and Human Services


Food and Drug Administration


Customs and Border Protection


Department of State


Department of Defense


Department of Housing and Urban Development


Federal Housing Finance Agency


Federal Reserve

Speech by Governor Brainard on the future of retail payments in the United States, August 6, 2020

Periodic Report: Update on Outstanding Lending Facilities Authorized by the Board under Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act, August 6, 2020

Main Street Lending Program: Nonprofit Frequently Asked Questions, August 6, 2020

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.