NATaT Weekly Legislative Report

NATaT Rural Grant Guide

Coronavirus update

June 29 2020

Summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Top News

On Friday, the White House held its first Coronavirus Task Force briefing since May. Despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections in many areas of the country, Vice President Mike Pence, head of the Task Force, sought to reassure the public about the federal government’s response and recovery efforts. “We have made truly remarkable progress in moving our nation forward,” he said. He also praised governors for reopening efforts and reiterated messaging from President Trump that the rise in cases is related to a rise in testing. "It is almost inarguable that more testing is generating more cases," he said. "The volume of new cases coming in is a reflection of a great success of expanding testing."

Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed optimism that a vaccine will be available by early 2021 but noted the US will not achieve “herd immunity” unless a large portion of the population takes the vaccine. Fauci also said federal health officials are considering pooled sampling to speed up testing. Pooled sampling allows groups of individuals to be tested at the same time. 

According to an ABC News-Ipsos poll, 89% of Americans report wearing face masks in public. Currently only 18 states require face masks in public. The poll found only 21% of respondents would be willing to attend a large gathering, down from 29% in mid-April. 

Capitol Hill. Today, the House will vote on HR 7301, which provides additional assistance to renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness during the coronavirus pandemic. The bill authorizes $194 billion in housing aid, expands moratoriums on foreclosures and evictions, authorizes federal loans for rental property owners and mortgage servicers, and offers bankruptcy relief, among other provisions. (One-Page Bill Factsheet/ Section-by-Section Bill Summary)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called for immediate bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on legislation to address the public health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Chairman of the House Oversight Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to Secretary of HHS Alex Azar urging him to reverse the decision to end federal support for 13 coronavirus testing across five states.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) led more than 20 Representatives in a letter calling on House leadership to provide increased federal investments in public transit agencies impacted by the coronavirus.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar requesting state testing plans required under the Paycheck Protection Program and the Health Care Enhancement Act. The legislation requires non-federal COVID-19 funding recipients to submit testing plans to HHS. 

There are a few hearings this week, including: 

Oversight. The Government Accountability Office released its bimonthly oversight report. The report identifies several current and future challenges, including incomplete reporting from state and local health departments on testing, critical supply distribution, the integrity of PPP and federal economic impact payments, and the lack of a national aviation preparedness plan. A report summary is here.

The Congressional Research Service updated its report on Resources for Tracking Federal Spending.

Administration. HHS Secretary Alex Azar warned on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ the “window is closing” for the nation to take action and get the coronavirus under control. Azar called the current state of the outbreak a “very, very serious situation,” as reported by Axios.

The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) issued two Field Assistance Bulletins to clarify issues relevant to the pandemic’s effects on the workplace.

HHS announced an agreement to secure large supplies of the drug remdesivir from Gilead Sciences through September, allowing hospitals to purchase the drug in amounts allocated by HHS and state health departments.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin agreed to provide PPP data to relevant congressional committees. The information will include borrower names and amounts but will exclude nonpublic personally identifiable and commercially sensitive business information.

The FCC announced a process developed with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to ensure critical infrastructure communications projects can be completed quickly because so many Americans are relying on high-speed internet service. The new process will allow wireless licensees to request expedited review for essential and immediate projects that respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC held a Telebriefing Update on June 25. A transcript and audio recording of the briefing – including comments by CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield and Dr. Jay Butler – is here.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a rule that would help to ensure students whose learning was impacted by COVID-19 are served equitably by CARES Act funding. The rule, which became effective immediately, outlines how local education agencies must calculate the emergency funds available for providing equitable services to students and teachers in private schools. 

Webinars, Events and Resources

NACo WEBINAR: Nursing Homes and COVID-19: Mitigating the Spread of the Virus Through Federal Guidance and Technology

June 30, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm ET

Click here for more information and registration

ICMA WEBINAR: Supporting Small Businesses During & After COVID-19

June 30, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm ET

Click here for more information and registration

DOL WEBINAR: Coronavirus-Related Paid Sick Leave Requirements for Business Owners, Employers, and Other Stakeholders

June 30, 9:00 am – 10:30 am CDT

Click here for more information and registration

NACo WEBINAR: Microsoft Teams – Beyond the Basics

July 1, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET

Click here for more information and registration

Weekly Legislative Update

Week of July 13 2020

Congressional Outlook


The House and Senate are in recess this week but the House will be holding "Committee Work Days" all week. No votes are scheduled in either chamber until next week.

The House Appropriations Committee will continue considering FY 2021 appropriations bills this week. The Full Committee will be marking up the seven remaining FY 2021 appropriations bills through Wednesday (the other five bills were marked up last week). House leaders are still aiming to pass all 12 FY 2021 appropriations bills on the floor by the end of the month while Senate progress on appropriations continues to be delayed due to partisan disagreements.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee plans to release and markup its FY 2020 Water Resources Development Act this week as well with the hopes of approving the bill on the floor before the August recess. The text of the bill is expected to be released today in anticipation of a Wednesday markup.

Voters in Alabama, Maine, and Texas will head to the polls this week for congressional primaries.


Week in Review


Biden Releases Plan to Combat Coronavirus and Prepare for Future Global Health Threats

Republicans Discussing Coronavirus Aid Package Contours

Pelosi Rejects White House's $1 Trillion Price Tag for Pandemic Relief

Deficit Rises to Record $2.7 Trillion Amid Pandemic: CBO

Surgeon General Says U.S. Can Reverse Coronavirus Surge in a Few Weeks 'If Everyone Does Their Part'

Coronavirus Deaths Rise Again Amid Mounting Outbreaks

Trump Administration Begins Formal Withdrawal from World Health Organization

CDC to Revise School Reopening Guidance

Supreme Court Caps Congressional Power to Subpoena Presidential Records

Justices Rule Swath of Oklahoma Remains Tribal Reservation

Supreme Court Rules State 'Faithless Elector' Laws Constitutional


NATaT Weekly Legislative Report