COVID-19 Washington Update: March 20, 2020
Kelley Drye Client Advisory
March 20, 2020
Today's federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic included initiatives from Congress, the White House and various federal agencies. Below is a synopsis of today's actions.

Congress

Yesterday evening, Senate Majority Leader McConnell unveiled the Senate Republicans’ “phase three” COVID-19 package, the trillion-dollar Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
  • Read the text of Senate Republicans’ “phase three” COVID-19 response package here, and a press release from Majority Leader McConnell here
  • Major Highlights
    • Families and Individuals
      • “Recovery Checks” to individuals and families of up to $1,200 (individuals) / $2,400 (couples) / $500 per child
      • Eligibility reduced starting at $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers; capped out at $99,000 / $198,000 (2018 income)
    • Healthcare Sector
      • Addresses supply shortages for drugs and critical equipment; expands coronavirus testing and speeds development of new vaccines and treatment; increases Medicare payments to hospitals
    • Business Provisions
      • Allows for loans and loan guarantees – but not grants or direct payments – to passenger air carriers ($50 billion), cargo air carriers ($8 billion), and other affected industries ($150 billion)
      • Provides $300 billion for small businesses
        • Cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain payroll during the emergency; if employers maintain their payroll, loans would be forgiven
        • Expands allowable uses for 7(a) loans to permit payroll support, including paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations
      • Other business tax provisions
        • Delays estimated tax payments for corporations until October 15 and delays payment of employer payroll taxes; makes a variety of tax changes to reduce burdens on U.S. businesses
      • Modifies paid leave requirements
  • More detailed information from committees:
  • Late Thursday evening, Senate Democratic Leader Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) issued a press release on the CARES Act, laying down their own markers for a “Workers First” approach in addition to a “Marshall Plan” for health care infrastructure
  • Today, in response to the GOP proposal, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Wyden (D-OR) and Small Business Committee Ranking Member Cardin (D-MD) introduced legislation to provide assistance to small businesses in the form of rebate checks, employee retention payroll tax credits, and a delay for estimated tax payments; read more here
  • Negotiations with the administration and Senate Democrats (who are coordinating with House Democrats) are ongoing and will continue through the weekend, with a desire to have Congress vote on the package as early as Monday
    • Leader McConnell has said he wants an “agreement in principle” by tonight with the goal of voting on final passage sometime Monday
  • As mentioned yesterday, talks of a “phase four” have already begun
 
President’s Schedule Today

11:45AM Members of the Coronavirus Task Force held a press briefing

1:30PM THE PRESIDENT had lunch with the Secretary of State

3:45PM THE PRESIDENT participates in a phone call with small business owners on COVID-19 response
 
White House / Agency Activity

Department of Homeland Security / Customs and Border Protection
Department of Defense
Department of the Treasury
  • Today, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced that that Tax Day will be moved from April 15 to July 15, with no interest or penalties; Treasury previously delayed payment deadlines, but not filing deadlines

Office of Management and Budget
White House
  • On Thursday, the White House indicated that June’s G7 summit would be held via videoconference rather than in-person at Camp David, allowing the governments to focus resources on the coronavirus response

Department of Education  

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
 
Kelley Drye Resources

COVID-19 and the Defense Production Act: What Does it Mean for Government Contractors and Suppliers?

Enacted: Families First Coronavirus Response Act covering recently-enacted paid leave provisions

Upcoming Webinar:

Families First Coronavirus Response Act is Enacted - Now What?
MARCH 24, 2020 AT 1:00PM EST

Is your company ready? Do you have questions about the new law? Join Kelley Drye’s Labor and Employment co-chairs Barbara Hoey and Mark Konkel and senior associate Diana Hamar as they take a deep dive in the new law and the circumstances under which paid sick leave and the expanded family leave will be available to employees, share practical advice and discuss potential hidden issues such as WARN.

CLICK HERE TO RSVP
 

Other:

Link to Tuesday's Update

Link to Wednesday's Update

Link to Yesterday's Update