The following is a summary by Winning Strategies Washington on the coronavirus relief bill dubbed “Phase 3.5”.
Members of Congress – wearing face masks and keeping 6-foot distance from one another – met this week to pass the most recent COVID relief bill, which provides more money for small businesses, hospitals, and testing.
Congress is scheduled to return again the week of May 4th and efforts have already begun on the next COVID aid package with a multitude of constituencies lining up for additional significant relief. Leading contenders on that list include additional aid for front line responders including hazard pay and possible student debt forgiveness, massive aid for state and local governments, specific relief for the oil and gas industry, additional relief for restaurants, small businesses, institutions of higher education and the possibility of additional direct aid payments to individuals and families.
This week also saw significant action on implementation of key programs, including public scrutiny of recipients of the Paycheck Protection Act and Department and Agency guidance on how hospitals and institutions of higher education are able to secure funds and how they are allowed to use funds. See our WSW sector specific reports below for specific new guidance.
Lastly, federal and state officials started debating and detailing protocols this week for the staged re-opening of state and local economies. Businesses large and small are working to discern what is relevant for them in that guidance and to decide internally how they plan to resume business operations while keeping their employees and their customers safe. Expect significant continued interplay between Governors and Federal officials, both economic and health care decision makers, on when and how to allow resumption of economic activities without putting the public at risk of another or even greater resurgence of the spread of COVID-19.
Congress Approves, President Signs Phase 3.5 Relief Bill
As your WSW team reported earlier this week, the House and Senate passed another coronavirus relief bill, dubbed “Phase 3.5.” The President has now signed that package, which replenishes funding for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, both of which ran out of money last week. The bill also added funding to boost the country’s medical response to the pandemic with additional aid to hospitals and monies toward national and tate-based COVID testing.
Main Street Lending Program (MSLP) Update
To get this program up and running, the Federal Reserve was required to submit a couple of reports to Congress, one on the new loan part, and one on the expanded loan part. Those reports have been delivered and are available here for the new one, and here for the expanded one.The Federal Reserve is now creating what it’s calling “program infrastructure,” which will include funding the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) at the Reserve Bank that will purchase 95% participation in loans made under the MSLP.
The Federal Reserve is expected to release updated confirmed guidance on both Main Street lending programs next week. We know these programs are of particular interest to many of you, and you can be sure we will keep monitoring the progress of standing up the program.
House Votes to Establish a Select Committee to Oversee Federal Response to Coronavirus
The House voted along party lines to create a select committee to oversee the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The panel, to be led by House Majority Whip James Clyburn (SC) will include 7 Democrats and 5 Republicans. It is a new investigative subcommittee under the House Oversight and Reform Committee. In a letter to colleagues, Speaker Pelosi said, “Its purpose is to ensure that the over $2 trillion that Congress has dedicated to this battle – and any additional funds Congress provides in future legislation – are spent wisely and effectively.”
House Republicans dismissed the new panel as unnecessary as House Committees already have oversight jurisdiction of the coronavirus pandemic.
WSW Coronavirus Information Library
Below are links to our updated Special Reports, which captures all of this last week’s key developments in each area.
Counties and Municipalities