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COVID-19 response memo, 7/29/20

Republicans release HEALS Act

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COVID-19 response memo, 7/29/20

Hope you had a nice Tuesday. Local, state, and federal highlights in today’s memo include:

  • Senate Majority Leader Released the HEALS Act Yesterday

  • Young Secures Key Provisions in Next Coronavirus Relief Package, Including Parts of RESTART Act

  • Fauci Said Midwest Could Face Same Surge as Southern States

  • Indiana Hospitals Seek Federal Loan Extension

  • Trump to Review DACA, Allow Holders to Extend for One Year

  • Convention Protocols

  • The Fed is Extending Its Lending Programs Until the End of the Year

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.


Senate Majority Leader Released the HEALS Act Yesterday


What’s New: The Senate Republicans released a $1 trillion plan to address relief related to the coronavirus. Progressives said the bill fell flat (especially with it falling short to help communities of color) and now comes the fun part with a few weeks of bipartisan negotiations on what is just an opening offer. Negotiations are taking place between White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Important to remember that Meadows is a former leader of the House Freedom Caucus and their support will be vital to getting any package over the finish line. Of note is new money for testing and vaccines, additional flexibility for state and local aid and less than $600 per week in unemployment insurance.

What's in it for Hospitals and Health Care Industry? 

As the hospital industry asked for $100 billion, the HEALS Act only had a $25 billion boost to a hospital bailout fund. The bill also doesn't have any funds for Medicaid but does include $16 billion to help states ramp up tests and contact tracing.

What's in it for Education?

The bill ties two-thirds of K-12 aid to school reopening and includes money for private schools, tax credit scholarships. The latter will be a lightning rod for Democrats and their allies in the teacher's union. The bill provides $105 billion to education with $70 billion going to elementary, middle and high schools and $29 billion for colleges and universities.

What's in it for Business?

There will be more money for PPP and liability protections for business (which was McConnell's red-line). The latter will be a tough pill to swallow for Democrats who rely on campaign contributions of plaintiff attorneys (aka trial lawyers). The bill also includes covering companies on testing, personal protective equipment, workplace cleaning and retrofitting facilities to adhere to distancing guidelines.

What's in it for the Military?

$30 billion in total with $8 billion going to new ships, planes and programs to support the defense industrial base.

Please find summaries below of select provisions of the HEALS Act, Phase IV legislation from Senate Republicans.

As a reminder, this release is expected to jumpstart negotiations with the White House and congressional leadership, beginning tonight. Much remains to be negotiated, including state relief.

Yes, but: Republicans still have work to do among their own ranks. Several Republican Senators have expressed concerns about the bill, including a White House provision for funding a new FBI headquarters in downtown Washington. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants that and other “non-germane” items will be removed from the legislation before it’s sent to President Trump’s desk. “I am opposed to non-germane amendments, whether it’s funding for the FBI building or, for example, in the House bill, whether it’s a tax cut for high-income earners in blue states or other non-germane amendments in the House bill like marijuana studies or aid to illegal immigrants,” McConnell told reporters after GOP senators met for lunch with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who are involved in negotiations with congressional Democrats on the COVID-19 package.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told reporters that Mnuchin and Meadows, the lead White House negotiators, pressed GOP senators to include the FBI funding in the bill. (The Hill)


Young Secures Key Provisions in Next Coronavirus Relief Package, Including Parts of RESTART Act


What’s new: U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) secured several key provisions in the proposed coronavirus relief package released today by Senate Republicans, known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act. The proposal includes some principles from Senator Young’s RESTART Act, and his legislation to address unemployment insurance reformchild care, and telehealth. The HEALS Act also contains the TRUST Act, which Senator Young coauthored to help rein in the national debt and set in motion a bipartisan national plan to finally begin tackling the long-term drivers of our national debt once we get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The HEALS Act proposal includes principles from Senator Young’s RESTART Act in its small business recovery component, formally titled the Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act. However, this proposal does not go far enough in assisting many of the small and mid-sized businesses and non-profits that are important to our economy. 

The RESTART Act would provide a partially forgivable loan to a wider range of businesses and non-profits with a revenue decline of 25 percent or greater. This assistance is critical to the more than 500,000 manufacturing employees in Indiana, the 200,000 Hoosier restaurant employees laid off or furloughed since March, the small music venues in Indiana that are facing permanent closure, and the countless restaurants, gyms, salons, hotels, retailers, and other small businesses that are important pillars of Indiana’s communities.

To view a one-pager on the RESTART Act, click HERE.


Fauci Said Midwest Could Face Same Surge as Southern States


What’s New: Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Midwestern states could face surges similar to those in Southern states if they’re not careful about reopening. Fauci named Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio as states to watch and cautioned that they should follow reopening guidelines issued earlier this year if leaders are considering ways to get back to pre-pandemic ways. (Washington Post)


Indiana Hospitals Seek Federal Loan Extension


What’s new: Indiana hospitals are begging for more time to pay off federal loans. When officials stopped elective surgeries early in the pandemic, many hospitals applied for the Medicare Accelerated and Advance Payment Program, also known as MAAPP. These loans have strict repayment terms, and time is running out to meet them. The repayment is due August 1 unless it is extended by Congress. 

“We are anxious to hear within the next couple of days,” said Cara Veale, the CEO of the Indiana Rural Health Association. “I’m hopeful that the terms of the program have been modified.” If it isn’t and hospitals can’t afford it, the money will be taken from Medicare reimbursements until the loan is paid in full. She said Indiana’s rural hospitals would likely close as a result.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Hospital Association is concerned about MAAPP’s interest rate.

“The interest rate, I believe, will go up to 10%, which is well above market rates,” said IHA President Brian Tabor. “We’ve asked for Congress also to consider forgiveness of the loans.”

IHA said Medicare patients will still be treated, hospitals just won’t get paid, which would have a long-term impact. (Fox59)


Trump to Review DACA, Allow Holders to Extend for One Year


What’s New: The Trump administration is set to announce Tuesday that it will undertake a review of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that will allow Dreamers to renew their protections for a year.

The White House laid out details about the plan during a call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. A source familiar with the plans said the review is expected to take roughly 100 days.

The review is intended to ensure that the legal justifications for rescinding DACA comply with the Administration Procedures Act, the source said.

The Supreme Court last month rejected Trump's first attempt to rescind DACA, saying the administration did not comply with the act and failed to provide adequate justification for ending the program. (The Hill)


Convention Protocols


What’s New: The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) circulated a memo on Monday laying out protocols for attending the party’s convention in Milwaukee, Wis., including that attendees must test negative for COVID-19 during each day of the convention in order to enter the main convention area.

According to CNN, the DNCC is banning attendees from going to bars and restaurants and recommending that they also wear a face shield or goggles along with a mandated mask. Those attending the convention must also self-isolate for 72 hours before departing to Milwaukee.

DNC also released a draft form of the Democratic Party platform (LINK).


The Fed is Extending Its Lending Programs Until the End of the Year


What’s New: The Federal Reserve said Tuesday it is extending its menu of lending programs to businesses, governments and individuals to the end of 2020. Originally set to expire Sept. 30, the myriad facilities, stretching from credit to small businesses up to the purchase of junk bonds, now will stretch to Dec. 31. (CNBC


Important Dates


Wednesday, September 2 - 10:00 am.                                                                   Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Senate Chamber

Thursday, September 3 - 10:00 am                                                                       Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Room 404

Wednesday, October 14 - 10:00 am                                                                       Pension Management Oversight Study Committee - Room 404


By The Numbers …


COVID-19 Cases

New cases: 809

Total cumulative cases reported Tuesday: 63,678

Total cumulative cases reported Monday: 62,907

Increase in cumulative cases: 771

Increase in cases reported July 22-July 28: 5,762

Increase in cases reported July 15-21: 5,224

COVID-19 Deaths

New deaths: 16

Total deaths: 2,725

Increase in deaths reported July 22-July 28: 73

Increase in deaths reported July 15-21: 70

County Numbers

Marion County cumulative cases: 13,954 (increase of 136)

Marion County new deaths: 0

Marion County cumulative deaths: 713

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 2,288

Johnson County cumulative cases: 1,574

U.S. and Worldwide Numbers As of Tuesday, from Johns Hopkins University:

U.S. cases: 4,307,542

U.S. deaths: 148,298

Global cases: 16,534,345

Global deaths: 655,084

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