COVID-19 Federal Responses: Friday, May 29, 2020

COVID-19 Federal Responses: Friday, May 29, 2020


The House passed H.R. 7010, Small Business Aid Forgiveness Boost Act, which eases some of the requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The bill:

  • Increases the time by which businesses must repay PPP loans from two years to five years.
  • Extends the PPP application deadline to December 31.
  • Removes a provision from the CARES Act that prohibits recipients (with forgiven PPP loans) from deferring their payroll tax payments.

For purposes of PPP loan forgiveness, the bill:

  • Increases the time in which recipients must spend PPP funding from eight weeks to 24 weeks or until the end of the year (whichever comes first).
  • Gives recipients until the end of the year to restore staffing and salary levels from furloughs and layoffs that occurred between February 15 and March 27.
  • Reduces the amount of the funding a recipient must spend on payroll expenses from 75% to 60%.
  • Extends forgiveness eligibility to recipients who document inability to rehire workers for various reasons.

The Senate is expected to consider the bill next week. It is not yet clear if the Senate will vote on the House-passed version or vote on its own version.

White House and Federal Agencies

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a new fact sheet to help state and local governments developing alternate care sites understand how to seek payments through CMS programs (Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP) for acute inpatient and outpatient care furnished at the site. Alternate care site is a broad term for any building or structure that is temporarily converted or newly erected for healthcare use.

President Trump said he will withdraw the U.S. from the World Health Organization.

The Federal Reserve Bank is preparing to begin lending under its Main Street Lending Program. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston released the applications lenders will need to complete in order to participate in the program.

President Trump extended the deployment for members of the National Guard through August. National Guard members support state coronavirus response efforts at the direction of state governors.

Reopening, Vaccines, Testing and Treatments

On 5/27, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said a second wave of COVID-19 infections, though likely to occur, can be prevented if states reopen properly.

  • Dr. Fauci continues to express optimism that a vaccine may be developed by the end of the year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations for reopening office buildings.

The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) declined at an annualized rate of 4.8 percent in Q1. The Q2 annualized GDP decline could reach 40 percent. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 75 percent of civilian workers were required to interact with the general public in 2019. This figure adds perspective to the challenges of maintaining social distancing.