Congressional and Administration Responses to the Coronavirus Outbreak

Congressional and Administration Responses to the Coronavirus Outbreak

Mar 21, 2020

Client Alert

Brownstein Client Alert, March 21, 2020

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, federal and state governments have taken rapid, decisive actions to support the people, businesses and industries affected. This memo serves as a recap of responses policymakers in Congress and the administration have taken within the past week to combat the virus. We begin by providing a top-level outline of the latest key updates and expand upon the details of each development later in the document. Below is an outline of the memo:

Pg 2: Key Updates 

  • A brief list of the latest developments in both Congress and the administration over the past week.

Pg 3: Administration Responses 

  • A summary of each development within the administration over the past week, organized by agency. 
  • President Trump and the White House
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Independent Agencies

Pg 8: Congressional Responses 

  • A summary of each development within Congress over the past week, including information on the Phase Two package and ongoing Phase Three negotiations. 
  • Pg 10: Legislative Tracker: A chart of legislation addressing the coronavirus pandemic from members of Congress in both the House and Senate, including brief descriptions of the bills and information on their current status.
  • Pg 20: Congressional Letters: Summary of letters written by members of Congress to senior Trump administration officials asking for the administration to take various actions.

Pg 23: State Declarations of Emergency 

  • A timeline of when each state declaration of emergency decision was made, alongside the approaches governors are taking to combat the virus in their home states.

Key Updates

Administration Responses: as of Friday, March 20

  • President Trump officially triggers executive authority under the Defense Production Act.
  • Travel restrictions extended to limit non-essential travel over US-Mexico border.
  • FDA announces potential new treatments for COVID-19 approved for compassionate use.
  • Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issues waiver of some HIPAA sanctions to improve data sharing.
  • Department of Education waives loan payments, cancels standardized testing.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) extends tax deadline by 90 days for individuals and businesses that owe taxes. 

Congressional Responses: as of Friday, March 20

  • Senate introduces third legislative package to tackle coronavirus pandemic.

Administration Responses: as of Wednesday, March 18

  • President signs the Families First Coronavirus Act (H.R.6201) into law.
  • President Trump announces new travel restrictions and partial closures of US-Canada borders.
  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issues telework guidance to federal agencies.
  • The White House issues new coronavirus guidelines.
  • National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) announces a Phase I clinical trial of a vaccine.
  • White House Office of Technology and Policy unveils a new coronavirus database.
  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announces new policies and guidance to extend and protect access to broadband and internet services, per the Keep Americans Connected pledge.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers some regulatory relief to increase coronavirus testing in states.
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announces waiver of telehealth requirements to expand telemedicine benefits under Medicare and issues guidance for elective procedures.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) issues updated guidance for states to request disaster assistance loans.
  • Treasury Department pitches $300 billion economic stimulus plan.
  • President Trump issues executive order invoking authority under Defense Production Act of 1950.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) directed to suspend evictions and foreclosures.
  • Department of Defense (DoD) to make more hospital beds available, deploy hospital ships.
  • Alphabet companies introduce coronavirus websites.

Congressional Responses: as of Wednesday, March 18

  • House and Senate pass second coronavirus legislative package.
  • House Financial Services Committee proposes economic stimulus package.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have now declared states of emergency in response to the pandemic

To read the full memo, please click here.

Information is changing daily and some of the content included in this alert may have changed or been updated since publication.

Click here to read more Brownstein alerts on the legal issues the coronavirus pandemic raises for businesses.

This document is intended to provide you with general information regarding responses policymakers in Congress and the administration have taken to combat coronavirus. The contents of this document are not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you have any questions about the contents of this document or if you need legal advice as to an issue, please contact the attorneys listed or your regular Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP attorney. This communication may be considered advertising in some jurisdictions.

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Micaela Arneson Contract Policy Assistant T 202.747.0512 marneson@bhfs.com
Annmarie Conboy-DePasquale Policy Assistant T 202.216.4865 aconboy-depasquale@bhfs.com
Emily Felder Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel T 202.216.4861 efelder@bhfs.com