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COVID-19 response memo, 8/1/20

The city of Indianapolis and the Indy Chamber are extending the deadline for the Ready to Restart program

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COVID-19 response memo, 8/1/20
 

Enjoy your weekend! Local, state, and federal highlights in today’s memo include:

  • White House Willing to Cut a Stimulus Deal Without ‘Liability Shield,’ Breaking with McConnell

  • House Approves $1.3 Trillion Spending Package for 2021

  • Phase 4 COVID-19 Relief Package Side-by-Side Summary and Initial Recommendations

  • Federal Unemployment Assistance Proposals - State Impact Comparison

  • Indy, Chamber Extend Deadline for Grant Program

  • Important Dates

  • Daily Numbers

    Let’s dive in.

 
 

White House Willing to Cut a Stimulus Deal Without ‘Liability Shield,’ Breaking with McConnell

 

Breaking: The White House is willing to cut a deal with Democrats that leaves out Senate Republican legislation aimed at protecting employers, hospitals and schools from coronavirus-related lawsuits, according to two people with knowledge of internal White House planning.

The White House wants and is pushing for the “liability shield” as a top priority but would be willing to sign off on a deal that lacks the legal protections, those people said. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) controls the Senate floor and could shoot down any deal that leaves out what he has said is a necessary component of any stimulus package. One of the people familiar with the administration’s thinking said the measure was “considered important but not absolutely essential.”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Friday that the liability shield was McConnell’s priority but that Trump wanted unemployment insurance extended. “That’s a question for Mitch McConnell … that’s his priority,” McEnany said, when asked if the administration would insist on a liability shield. “This president is very keenly focused on unemployment insurance.” (Washington Post)

Trump’s ambivalence appears to have rattled the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “It is impossible to understate what an enormous mistake it would be to exclude temporary liability protections from the next coronavirus relief package,” Neil Bradley , the Chamber’s chief policy officer, said in a statement this morning. The Chamber also sent a letter to lawmakers on Thursday afternoon formally backing the liability provisions in the package Senate Republicans rolled out this week. Nearly 500 trade groups signed onto the letter, including Airlines for America, the American Bankers Association, the American Chemistry Council, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the Motion Picture Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Association of Realtors, the National Retail Federation and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

 
 

House Approves $1.3 Trillion Spending Package for 2021

 

What’s New: The House on Friday approved a $1.3 trillion package of spending bills for the 2021 fiscal year.

The package, passed in a largely party-line 217-197 vote, included the spending bills for defense; labor, health and human services, and education; commerce, justice and science; energy and water; financial services and general government; and transportation and housing and urban development.

The House has now approved all but two spending bills, though the remaining bills are not expected to receive floor consideration. (The Hill)

 
 

Phase 4 COVID-19 Relief Package Side-by-Side Summary and Initial Recommendations

 

What’s New: Earlier this week, the Senate introduced its Phase 4 legislative package to provide financial relief to families, businesses, and communities across the country enduring the economic destruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The U.S. Chamber has prepared an initial side-by-side summary for the business community of the House and Senate Phase 4 proposals specifically as they each pertain to the five priority areas—Liability Protection Against Unwarranted Lawsuits, Support for Small and Midsize Employers, Support for Childcare and K-12 Schools, Unemployment and Job Training, and State and Local Assistance— which were identified by the U.S. Chamber in its recommendations earlier this month. The side-by-side summary also includes initial draft recommendations from the U.S. Chamber for improving the package. Click here to view the side-by-side summary.

 
 

Federal Unemployment Assistance Proposals - State Impact Comparison

 

What’s New: Congress is currently considering proposals to renew federal unemployment assistance. Earlier today, the U.S. Chamber released a new interactive map—Federal Unemployment Assistance Proposals: State Impact Comparison—demonstrating how the current House Democrat and Senate Republican proposals would affect each state.

The interactive map outlines how much assistance the average unemployed individual would receive, average wage replacement rates, the resulting increase compared to state-only benefits, and more. Click here to view the interactive map.

 
 

Indy, Chamber Extend Deadline for Grant Program

 

What’s New: The city of Indianapolis and the Indy Chamber are extending the deadline for the Ready to Restart program, keeping the application process open until August 28. The grant program helps Marion County businesses re-open safely by helping to reimburse for PPE, sanitizing stations, and other COVID-related opening costs. The initial deadline to apply for the $5,000 grants was July 31.

The city and the chamber decided to extend the deadline after Indy Mayor Joe Hogsett announced new restrictions, including the closing of bars, to curb a spike in coronavirus cases.

While the one-time grants are being awarded on a “first come, first served” basis, the city says “plenty of resources remain.” Any Indianapolis business meeting the following criteria can apply for ‘Ready to Restart’ support:

  • Must be a private, for-profit business with 150 employees or fewer

  • Must be located and registered in Marion County

  • Must have a business start date prior to 2/15/2020

  • Must have purchased PPE, modified supplies (like washable menus), professional cleaning and disinfection services, and/or capital improvements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses can apply by clicking here. (Inside Indiana Business)

 
 

Important Dates

 

Monday, August 17 - 9:00 am                                                                            Legislative Continuity Committee - Room 233

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: 912

Total cumulative cases reported Friday: 66,154

Total cumulative cases reported Thursday: 65,253

Increase in cumulative cases: 901

Increase in cases reported July 25-July 31: 5,582

Increase in cases reported July 18-24: 5,785


COVID-19 Deaths

New deaths: 19

Total deaths: 2,765

Increase in deaths reported July 25-July 31: 78

Increase in deaths reported July 18-24: 77


County Numbers

Marion County cumulative cases: 14,432 (increase of 162)

Marion County new deaths: 1

Marion County cumulative deaths: 718

Marion County 7-day positivity rate: 8.6%

Hamilton County cumulative cases: 2,410

Johnson County cumulative cases: 1,616


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

U.S. cases: 4,496,737

U.S. deaths: 152,074

Global cases: 17,334,539

Global deaths: 674,038

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