COVID-19 Washington Update: March 24, 2020
Kelley Drye Client Advisory
March 24, 2020
Today's federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic included promises of a Congressional “phase three” agreement yet this evening, as well as additional announcements from the White House and various federal agencies. Below is a synopsis of today's actions.

Congress
 
  • As of this drafting, Congressional leaders and administration officials were closing in on a “phase three” deal – in the form of modifications to Senate Republicans’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act – which could be announced in the coming hours
    • Democratic Leader Schumer (D-NY) has highlighted areas of progress, including: $150 billion in additional funding for state and local governments; $130 billion in additional hospital funding (“Marshall Plan”); “worker first” provisions (e.g., strengthened unemployment insurance provisions); additional oversight for companies receiving government assistance; direct federal grants and loans to companies, with incentives to keep employees; and additional small business provisions
    • Once an agreement is reached, the Senate is expected to act quickly
    • House leaders from both parties have indicated they will urge their Members to support the package once it passes the Senate – and are hoping for quick passage via unanimous consent (though that is not guaranteed, as just one Member can object and demand a recorded vote)
    • Meanwhile, late Monday, House Rules Committee Chairman McGovern (D-MA) released a report on voting options during the pandemic, concluding that implementing remote voting in the midst of a crisis was not realistic and the “best path” is for Congress to pass the “phase three” package by unanimous consent or voice vote (though he presented additional  options, e.g., proxy voting, paired voting, or a provisional quorum)

  • Also Monday evening, Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled House Democrats’ “phase three” plan, the $2.5 trillion Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act
    • Bill text; detailed summary; one-pager with key details
    • While the yet-to-be-unveiled Senate “phase three” bill is the train that’s moving, the House bill laid down Democrats’ priorities and was designed to help drive negotiations
    • Provisions left out of the Senate bill could end up in a subsequent response package – and today, House Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) told Members to expect a 4th and a 5th package (though timing is far from certain)

Other Resources
 
  • Today, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republicans released a COVID-19 Resource Guide cataloguing the actions taken by the various federal agencies under the Committee’s jurisdiction

White House / Agency Activity

White House
 
Department of Homeland Security
 
DHS / Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
 
  • UPDATED Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, March 23, 2020; March 19 cover memo has not changed, but guidance has been updated. Changes of note: (1) Updates guidance for “Critical Manufacturing” to cover “workers needed to maintain the continuity of these manufacturing functions and associated supply chains;” and (2) Adds language to reflect the necessary movement of critical infrastructure workers “within and between jurisdictions”

DHS / Federal Emergency Management Agency
 
Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission
 
Food and Drug Administration
 
Department of Health and Human Services
 
Department of the Treasury
 
Securities and Exchange Commission
 
Export-Import Bank
 
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 “Essential Services” or “Critical Infrastructure” and Navigating Compliance with State Stay-at-Home Orders, March 21, 2020

90-Day Tax Extension Now Covers Filing of Federal Income Tax Returns Otherwise Due on April 15, 2020, But Questions Remain: Update, March 21, 2020

Practical Advice for the Real Estate Industry Affected by Coronavirus, March 23, 2020

COVID-19 and the Defense Production Act: What Does it Mean for Government Contractors and Suppliers?, March 19, 2020

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

Other:

Link to Last Thursday's Update

Link to Last Friday's Update

Link to Monday's Update