During times of deep crisis and great uncertainty, the federal government has always been at the center of addressing these challenges. This includes working across industries, state and local governments and the U.S. population to provide relief. We see that now as the administration and Congress have joined forces to address the global and generational threat that the spread of COVID-19 represents. The impacts are being felt across virtually all sectors of the economy – housing, education, sports, entertainment, travel, service work, automotive, manufacturing, banking, healthcare, etc. – and we’re all counting on the federal government to effectively manage this health and economic crisis to keep our nation stable.
Earlier this month, the administration and Congress signed an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to provide critical funding for state and local governments. Last weekend, the House passed, with bipartisan support, more direct assistance to citizens and small businesses, including free Coronavirus testing, expanded sick leave and unemployment insurance relief to states. And the Senate is expected to address the House bill this week. In addition, the President declared a state of emergency, the Federal Reserve cut the short-term interest rate and the administration and Congress are working on an additional stimulus package.
As the stimulus packages are being considered, we want industry leaders to have the latest information on issues relevant to their business, employees and partners. So we are tracking the U.S. government’s economic response and making a daily update available on what it means to U.S. businesses, industries, workers and consumers.
Our latest daily update is included below for your review. If you are interested in receiving these updates going forward, please click here to be added to our distribution list. In closing, we would like to applaud all of the companies, large and small, for all they are doing in this crisis. From health care providers protecting our most vulnerable, to banks waiving late fees on mortgage and credit card payments, to telecom companies committing to keep customers connected even if they fall behind on their bills – we are all in this together and we value all of the leaders who are working together in the best interests of our nation.
- President Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force issued new guidelines to help protect Americans during the global Coronavirus outbreak. Those recommendations include avoiding gathering of 10 or more people, discretionary travel, and eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts. (whitehouse.gov)
- In announcing the new guidelines, President Trump acknowledged that the crisis “could last until July or August and even plunge the nation into a recession.” (Politico)
- The U.S. stock market ended sharply lower on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its worst point drop (about 3,000 points) in history and falling to its lowest level in nearly three years. The S&P 500 closed at 12% down for the day. (CNN Business)
Status of Economic Stimulus
- On Monday night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed technical corrections to the coronavirus relief bill it passed on Saturday, clearing the way for the Senate to be considered the legislation this week. The House passed the corrections by unanimous consent during a pro forma session since the lower chamber is on recess this week. (NBC)
- Congressional leaders and White House officials have begun on a third, new coronavirus relief bill that could contain major economic stimulus for corporations and consumers with the hope of moving the legislation through the Senate this week. This bill will include “actions to secure the economy and small businesses and additional steps to shore up the health care system and support medical professionals.” (The Wall Street Journal)
- Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer offered input on specifics for the new plan, proposing a $750 billion to raise funding for unemployment insurance, coronavirus treatment and emergency childcare assistance. Additionally, he proposed including student loan and housing payment assistance, aid to small businesses and expansion of hospital and treatment capacity. (NPR)
- Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, said that the committee is about “90 percent of the way toward agreeing on a small-business relief package that will be broken up into two parts.” The first part, a $50 billion expansion in loan capacity for small businesses, will be attached to the House-passed coronavirus bill. The second part will be to a broader measure that’s likely to include broader economic measures such as a tax rebate, a payroll tax cut, and relief for the airlines and other hard-hit. (The Hill)
- “The White House budget office will send Congress another funding request that would potentially bolster the Pentagon, the VA and Homeland Security as federal agencies contain the coronavirus outbreak.” (Politico)
- The Wall Street Journal notes that, reeling from the coronavirus crisis, U.S. airlines are seeking over $50 billion in financial assistance from the government.This is approximately three times the bailout following 9/11. “We’re going to back the airlines 100%,” President Trump said at a news conference Monday. (Wall Street Journal)
- In a joint release, Federal bank regulators moved to make it easier for banks to reduce their capital levels to keep credit flowing amid economic stress from the coronavirus pandemic. (Federal Reserve)
- As consumers stay at home, there are several industries that rely on people leaving their homes that are at risk. Many of these businesses already face competition from at-home Internet-connected alternatives that technology companies have built in the last 10 to 15 years. Some of industries facing disruption include: Movie theaters, fitness centers, commercial real estate, traditional pay TV. (CNBC)
- Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is granting companies protection from liability for medical and security countermeasures against the coronavirus disease. Countermeasures covered under the declaration include drugs, biologics and medical devices used to diagnose, prevent, treat or mitigate a pandemic or epidemic disease. (RAPS)
- The House passed, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, will provide paid time off to most American workers stuck at home due to the coronavirus. If the bill is approved by the Senate and signed by Trump, it would grant two weeks of paid sick leave at 100 percent of the person’s normal salary, up to $511 per day. (The Washington Post)
- “GOP Sen. Mitt Romney proposed on Monday sending every American adult $1,000 to ease the financial pain of the coronavirus pandemic that has tanked global markets and threatened to grind U.S. economic activity to a halt.” (CNBC)
- Grocery stores remain open, however according to The Hill, Chef José Andrés called on U.S. supermarket chains to also hold special shopping hours for older individuals, who are more susceptible to experience serious illness or death from the new coronavirus. (The Hill)
- General Motors announced they will provide payment relief options to customers affected by the virus, including extensions and deferred lease payments. Additionally, they are offering 0% financing for seven years and four months deferred payments for those with good credit, on purchases of new cars. (Reuters)
Google has slightly delayed the launch of its coronavirus information website to “later this week,” after initially planning to roll it out late Monday. A Google spokesperson said the company wants to take more time to build out some of the features on the new site. (The Verge)
- “The Senate stands adjourned until 10:00am on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. There will be an effort to process H.R.6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Roll call votes are possible during Tuesday’s session.” (Senate.gov)
- President Trump is holding a series of meetings with industry leaders today, including tourism executives, supply retailers and wholesalers on coronavirus.
- The House is considering extending its current district work period in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus and may not return from recess on March 23. (Politico)