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COVID-19 Update
May 14, 2020

IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

Iowa Update

Governor Kim Reynolds will hold a press conference today from the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Johnston, IA at 11:00 a.m. to provide an update to the state of Iowa on COVID-19. That press conference will be livestreamed and posted in full on Governor Reynolds’ Facebook Page and on YouTube.

The Iowa Department of Public Health released the latest information on COVID-19 in the state Wednesday. IDPH reported 377 new positive cases and an additional 17 deaths bringing the statewide total to 13,289 total positive cases and 306 deaths.  IDPH reported 85,719 Iowans have been tested for the virus, while 5,954 have recovered from it.  Currently 388 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, while 133 are in intensive care and 36 were admitted in the last 24 hours. IDPH reported 101 patients are on ventilators.  IDPH data shows hospitalization numbers flat or decreasing over the last seven days.  There are COVID-19 outbreaks reported in 33 of Iowa’s long-term care facilities. That’s up one from Tuesday’s total.

Yesterday at her press conference, Governor Reynolds announced additional rollback of COVID-19 social distancing and business closures in Iowa. She said using improved data gathered from increased testing allows the state to be more targeted in its phased in response to reopening.

Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency, that lifts some of the restrictions that had been in place in all 99 counties. The proclamation permits salons, barbershops, and massage and tattoo establishments to reopen throughout Iowa in a limited fashion with appropriate public health measures in place. It also permits restaurants (but not bars), fitness centers, libraries, and race tracks to reopen in the 22 counties where they have remained closed. These changes are effective at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, May 15.
 
The proclamation continues the other ongoing closures and public health measures, including the prohibition on social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people, until 11:59 p.m. on May 27, 2020. 
 
It also strongly encourages all vulnerable Iowans, including those with preexisting medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state to continue to limit their activities outside of their home, including their visits to businesses and other establishments and their participation in gatherings of any size and any purpose
 
The full proclamation is online here in its entirety.

Following IDPH guidance is required of businesses to reopen, including disinfection, hand washing and sanitizing supplies are available to customers and staff, use of masks in settings when social distancing is impossible, developing appropriate leave policies and protocols, implementing self-quarantining of those exposed or feeling ill. Additional guidance for businesses that provide direct services to clients like hair cuts and massages.

The state has monitored virus activity statewide and among the 22 counties where more vigorous controls remain in place and they have seen significant progress--Polk and Woodbury counties, where the state has increased testing more cases are trending upward over the last two weeks—however most counties in the state are showing signs of stabilization, the Governor said. Even though hospitalizations have increased recently in a few communities, hospital resources are stable and adequate. They have a surge plan in place for any potential spikes.

The Governor stressed that 80 percent of people will have mild to no symptoms from the coronavirus, but 20 percent of people are vulnerable to the disease with 57 percent of the deaths in older Iowans in long-term care facilities. She stressed personal responsibility among the 80 percent to protect the vulnerable, but asked older and vulnerable Iowans to continue to protect themselves and continue to social distance and limit non-essential trips outside the home.

Yesterday afternoon, House and Senate leadership announced that the Legislature plans to reconvene on Wednesday, June 3 at 9 am. The Legislative Council will meet by teleconference on Thursday, May 14 at 3:30 pm to vote to resume session on June 3. The Legislature previously suspended its session on March 16 as a precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of legislators, staff, and the public.
  
While the public is encouraged to avoid the Capitol if possible, especially if they fall in a vulnerable population, additional safety precautions will be taken to protect the health of those in the building when the Legislature reconvenes. These measures include:
  • Encouraging members and staff to stay home if they are sick, have a fever or any symptoms, or have compromised immune systems.
  • Requiring staff members and the public to undergo a health screening before entering the Capitol.
  • Recommending that all individuals follow social distancing guidelines issued by the Department of Public Health.
  • Recommending the use of facemasks when unable to properly social distance, as recommended by the CDC. Facemasks will be provided to those who want one.
  • Deploying hand sanitizer stations throughout the Capitol, at entrances to the building, and the House and Senate chambers.
  • Limiting individuals on the House floor to only Representatives and necessary staff as deemed appropriate by supervisors.
Additionally, all House committee meetings will be held in the House Chambers and will be live streamed to increase transparency and ensure Iowans are able to follow legislative business. For subcommittee meetings, members of the public will be strongly encouraged to submit written comments on legislation via the General Assembly’s website (similar to public hearings in the House).
 
The Capitol building will be reopened to the public on Monday, May 18 with reduced hours (Monday-Saturday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm) and only the West Entrance will be open. The Capitol is closed to tour groups and individuals will be encouraged to practice social distancing guidelines (6 feet of separation) and refrain from gathering in groups of ten or more.
 
Federal Legislation 

Supplemental IV – HEROES Act

Timeline: The House plans to vote Friday. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has written  to Speaker Pelosi asking for more time to review the bill, so the vote may slip into next week. House Committee on Rules will meet tomorrow to vote on a rule for the bill (as well as the resolution on proxy voting/remote procedures). The House bill will serve as starting point for negotiations that will occur over the next several weeks. 

Process/Politics: Notably, Republicans did not see the text of the HEROES Act before it was introduced. Broadly, many of the provisions in the bill represent a marker of the House Democratic position on these issues. Leader McConnell continues to push for liability protections, which the House bill does not include. McConnell has also downplayed the need for immediate additional funds, at least until funding under the current CARES Act has been more fully allocated. 

Policy: House Democrats introduced the long-awaited HEROES Act yesterday during pro forma session. The bill totals around $3 trillion. It’s worth emphasizing that this is the first step toward a final bill and there is much to be negotiated before passage. With that being said, see text here. Section by section here. One pager here. State and Local one pager here. NCAI’s summary on tribal provisions here. Highlights of the bill below. 
  • Support for State, local, Tribal governments
    • $500 billion for State governments,  
    • $375 billion for local governments, 
    • $20 billion for Tribal governments,  
    • $20 billion for Territories, and  
    • $755 million for the District of Columbia. 
  • Health providers and insurance coverage 
    • $100 billion for hospitals/health care providers.
    • Special two-month open enrollment period, elimination of cost sharing for COVID-19 treatments, and full COBRA subsidies for those who lost employer-provided health care coverage. 
    • Increases in FMAP and DSH payments, extends Medicare Accelerated payments timeline and lowers the interest rate. 
  • Public Health strategy and capacity-building 
    • $75 billion for testing, contact tracing, monitoring capabilities (CONTACT Initiative); 
    • Establishes supply chain czar to coordinate health care officials, supply chain officials, and states; and, 
    • Requires expansion of manufacturing capacity of vaccines and potential vaccines.  
  • Support for Small Businesses 
    • Expands PPP eligibility to all 501(c) organizations, extends date to rehire to 12/31/2020,  
    • Appropriates $10 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. 
    • Expands eligibility of Main Street Lending Program to nonprofits. 
  • Support for Individuals 
    • Second round of stimulus payments of $1,200 per taxpayer plus $1,200 per dependent (limited to 3). 
    • $175 billion for renter/homeowner assistance for renters and homeowners to make rent, mortgage, and utility payments.  
    • Suspends negative consumer credit reporting, bans consumer debt collection. 
  • Paid Leave and Worker Protections 
    • Eliminates certain paid leave employer exemptions (500+ employee exemption, health care provider and emergency responders, small business self-exemption), expands uses of and ability to use paid sick days and paid leave. 
    • Requires OSHA to issue an emergency temporary standard (ETS) for workers at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Standard would be enforceable by OSHA. 
    • $190 billion for a Heroes Fund to provide hazard pay for essential workers. Eligible employers will be given grants from this fund to provide hazard pay to their essential workers ($13 per hour on top of regular pay, $10,000 per worker).  
  • Education 
    • $100 billion for education support ($90 billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund [K-12], $10 billion for universities/students). 
    • Continues suspension of student loan payments and accrual of interest to 9/30/2021 and extends to include FFEL and Perkins loans. 
    • Clarifies that emergency financial aid grants (broad definition) will not be considered as income/assets for calculation of student’s eligibility for federal financial aid.  
    • Prohibits the Secretary from placing limits on what types of students may receive funds under the CARES Act’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.  
  • Other key provisions 
    • $5 billion for broadband (E-Rate), creation of broadband subsidy for households with a member laid off/furloughed and bans providers from discontinuing service/adding late fees due to customer’s inability to pay related to COVID-19.  
    • $3.6 billion for grants to states for election preparedness and security
    • $25 billion for the U.S. Postal Service
Details of the tax and Unemployment Insurance (UI) provisions below.
  • Narrowing of CARES Act tax provisions: The draft contains two provisions narrowing tax benefits from CARES, which would likely raise significant revenue relative to current law: 
    • Net Operating Losses / NOLs (Sec. 20302): CARES allowed NOLs arising in tax years 2018, 2019, and 2020 to be carried back up to five years. The proposed provision would narrow that benefit, allowing NOLs arising in 2019 or 2020 to be carried back only to 2018 and 2019. This would prevent using a post-TCJA NOL against the pre-TCJA 35% rate, which CARES allows. 
    • Limitation on non-corporate losses (Sec. 20301): reinstates the $500,000 ($250,000 for unmarried filers) active loss limitation for shareholders and owners of pass-through businesses from TCJA that CARES suspended for 2018, 2019, and 2020. 
  • Elimination of the SALT Deduction Cap for 2020 and 2021 (Sec. 20161); 
  • Employer retention and expenses payroll tax benefits
    • Employee retention tax credit (Sec. 20211): The proposal enhances the CARES employee retention credit to 80% of wages (from 50%) and increases the cap from $10,000 overall to $45,000 and $15,000 quarterly. Large employer threshold generally increased from 100 employees to 1,500 employees. 
    • Fixed expenses refundable payroll tax credit (Sec. 20212) for up to 50% of rent, mortgage, and utility payments, maximum of the lesser of (1) $50,000, (2) fixed expenses same quarter in 2019, (3) 25% of payroll, (4) 6.25% of gross receipts; 
    • Employee benefit expense refundable payroll tax credit (Sec. 20204) for benefit payments by employers, up to $5,000 per employee, 50% credit (for COVID benefits) or 30% credit (for non-COVID benefits); and 
    • Business interruption credit for self-employed businesses (Sec. 20213). 
  • Modifications and enhancements to other CARES and FFCRA tax provisions
    • Payroll tax deferral for two years from CARES would be allowed to businesses that have received loan forgiveness under SBA PPP, reversing a limitation from CARES (Sec. 20231); 
    • Expenses related to SBA PPP loans would be deductible, reversing an IRS ruling (Notice 2020-32) to the contrary (Sec. 20235); 
    • Phase II FFCRA Leave Mandate Credits extended through 2021 (Sec. 20221); 
    • Certain CARES loan forgiveness, including EIDL and emergency financial aid, not included in income (Secs. 20232 and 20233). 
  • Individual Stimulus / Cash Grant Tax Rebates Modifications 
    • CARES stimulus payments enhanced in several ways, including expanding dependent definition to include those over 17 and full-time students 24 or younger (Sec. 20101); SSN requirement eliminated (Sec. 20102); past-due support payments no longer disqualifying (Sec. 20103); 
    • Second round of stimulus payments of $1,200 ($2,400 joint) per taxpayer plus $1,200 per dependent (limited to 3, up from $500 per child in CARES); same income limitations as CARES; and 
    • Prohibits the use of POTUS’ signature on future distributions (Sec. 20111(e), p186). 
  • Additional tax relief for individuals and families largely following H.R. 3300, which W&M marked up in June of last year. Includes: 
    • Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansions for 2020 for childless workers, tracking prior legislation by Chairman Neal (Sec. 20121); SSN requirement eliminated (Sec. 20122); rules on separated spouses (Sec. 20123); Elimination of investment income test (Sec. 20124); 
    • Taxpayers may elect to substitute 2019 earned income for 2020 for EITC (Sec. 20126); 
    • Child Tax Credit (CTC) expansions for 2020, eliminating refundability cap of credit (Sec. 20131);  
    • EITC and CTC for Possessions and Puerto Rico (Secs. 20125 and 20132); 
    • Child and Dependent Care Assistance Credit refundable for 2020 (sec. 20141); 
    • Dependent care assistance expansions (Sec. 20142); 
    • Increase in carryovers for Health FSAs and Dependent Care FSAs (Secs. 20151 and 20152); 
  • Other tax provisions 
    • Above-the-line deduction for educator expenses up to $500 from $250 (Sec. 20201); 
    • Above-the-line deduction for first responders and supplies (Secs. 20202 and 20203); 
  • Unemployment Insurance (UI) Expansions from CARES extended to 3/31/2021 (Division E, Sec. 50001). 
Details of the Paycheck Protection Program provisions outlined below:
  • Amendments to Paycheck Protection Program (Sec. 90001) 
    • Extends the covered period of the PPP until 12/31/2020, expands eligibility to tribal businesses, critical access hospitals, and all 501(c) category organizations.  
    • Adds news organizations to the restaurant/hospitality NAICS code employee count exemption from CARES Act. 
    • Increases minimum loan maturity to 5 years. 
    • 25% set aside for organizations with 10 or fewer employees
    • 25% set aside for nonprofits, caps PPP funds at 12.5% for nonprofits with over 500 employees. 
    • $10 billion set aside for community financial institutions
    • Bars eligibility of organizations owned 20% or greater by an individual who has been convicted of financial fraud in the last 5 years. 
    • $1 billion for technical assistance grants to community financial institutions. 
  • Amendments to Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness (Sec. 90004) 
    • Extends maximum covered period for loan forgiveness period to 24 weeks or 12/31/2020, whichever is first. 
    • Clarifies that PPP funds can be used for interest on any debt obligation incurred before 2/15/2020. 
    • Adds exemption to rehiring requirement for forgiveness if a business can show that it was unable to rehire employees and can demonstrate an inability to find similarly qualified employees before 12/31/2020. 
  • Clarifies that PPP payments and loan forgiveness will not be considered taxable income (Sec. 90006). 
  • Clarifies that expenses covered by PPP loan forgiveness would be deductible, reversing an IRS ruling (Notice 2020-32) (Sec. 20235). 
  • Allows businesses that have received PPP loan forgiveness to access CARES Act payroll tax deferral, reversing a limitation from CARES (Sec. 20231). 
Passed Legislation

New Implementation Information and Guidance
  • 5/13 – HRSA announced it awarded $15 million to organizations to train providers to use telehealth and increase telehealth capacity. Press release here
  • 5/12 – Treasury released its list of payments to states and qualifying localities for the Coronavirus Relief Fund. List here
Previously Reported Implementation Information and Guidance

Small Business Loans & Treasury Main Street Lending
  • 5/11 – SBA released updated PPP statistics, including recent state by state information here.  
  • 5/8 – SBA’s Inspector General released a report on the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program. The report found the Administration’s administration of the program did not align with the law in four ways: prioritization of underserved/rural markets, loan proceeds eligibility for forgiveness, guidance on loan deferment, and registration of loans. Report here.  
  • 5/7 – The Washington Post reported that the SBA has imposed a new loan limit on the department’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), moving the loan limit from $2 million to $150,000. The department also announced that it would only be accepting applications from agricultural businesses onward.  
  • 5/6 – Treasury released an updated FAQ for the Paycheck Protection Program. FAQ here.  
  • 5/3 – Treasury and SBA released a data set for the most recent tranche of P3 funds. Data here
  • 4/30 – The IRS issued guidance that most expenses funded by forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are non-deductible for federal income tax purposes.  
  • 4/30 – The Federal Reserve released the term sheets and other information relating to its expansion of scope and eligibility of the Main Street Lending Program. Term sheets and other information here. Other information on other facilities and programs here
  • 4/29 – SBA announced that from 4:00-11:49pm on 4/29, SBA systems would only accept loans from lending institutions with asset sizes less than $1 billion dollars. The move was aimed at ensuring access to the PPP loan program for smaller lenders and their customers. 
  • 4/28 – SBA announced it would no longer accept PPP loan applications submitted by robotic processing systems.  
  • Treasury released an interim final rule for the Paycheck Protection Program on how lenders will calculate loan amounts for employers with seasonal employees. Rule here.  
  • 4/24 – SBA issued a procedural guidance on participation sales here
  • 4/24 – SBA released an interim final rule on requirements for Promissory Notes, Authorizations, Affiliation, and Eligibility. Interim Final Rule here. Additional eligibility criteria and requirements for certain loans here.  
  • 4/24 – Data on Economic Injury Disaster Loans here, EIDL Advance here
  • 4/23 – The Treasury Department asked all publicly traded companies that received funds under the program to return the funds within two weeks. 
  • The Treasury Department released an interim final rule on the small business provisions in the bill. See here for a memo Cornerstone put together on the interim final rule.  
  • Treasury FAQs on the Paycheck Protection Program 
  • Top-line overview of the program here 
  • Lender information here, Borrower information here, borrower application here 
Individual and Business Tax Relief
  • IRS guidance on deferral of payroll taxes here 
  • House Ways and Means factsheet on Economic Impact Rebate portal here 
  • IRS’s FAQ page on individual economic relief here 
  • Treasury Guidance on Employee Retention Tax Credit here 
  • 4/29 – Treasury FAQ on Employee Retention Tax Credit here 
Public Health Systems, Education, and Healthcare
  • 5/1 – As part of the $100 billion dedicated to hospitals and health providers in CARES, HHS has distributed funding to “hotspot” hospitals and providers. HHS distributed $12 billion to 395 hospitals who provided inpatient care for 100 or more COVID-19 patients through April 10, 2020. $2 billion of the funding was distributed based on low-income/uninsured data (Medicare and Medicaid disproportionate share and uncompensated care payments). Money went out on Tuesday and Wednesday. 
  • 4/27 – Outline of the Provider Relief Fund with additions from COVID 3.5 here
  • 4/27 – Education Sec. Betsy DeVos announced that more than $300 million in discretionary grant funds will be available for states to use to create adaptable, innovative learning opportunities for K-12 and postsecondary learners in response to COVID-19. The grants will be funded through the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF), authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. 
  • 4/26 – CMS announced that it is reevaluating the amounts that will be paid under its Accelerated Payment Program (AAP) and suspending its Advance Payment Program to Part B suppliers effective immediately. Press release here
  • The announcement came as a surprise to Democrats, who were actively negotiating with the department officials on modifying the program.  
  • 4/23 – As part of negotiations on 3.5, the Administration made commitments on how the next $60 billion in the health relief fund will be distributed. HHS has committed that it will send out an additional $60 billion dollars in the coming weeks, much of it coming within the next 10 days.  
  • 4/23 – As part of negotiations on 3.5, the Administration made commitments on changes to Medicare advance payment policies. The administration committed that, by the end of this week, Secretary Mnuchin and Chief of Staff Meadows will release a letter stating that they will:  
    • Use their administrative authority to reduce the interest rate down from what is currently 10.25 percent to a rate that is more in line with a traditional federal interest rate.  
    • Use their administrative authority to extend the repayment period beyond 12 months.  
    • Work with Congress and support legislation in Corona 4 that will place the liability for these payments in Treasury’s General Revenue fund, rather than the Medicare Hospital Insurance and Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Funds. The expansion of these programs must not adversely affect Medicare’s solvency or result in premium increases for seniors. 
  • 4/22 – CARES Act Provider Relief Fund overview here. State by state breakdown of first payment here.  
  • 4/9 – Secretary DeVos indicated that she would be moving to "immediately distribute" the $6 billion in CARES for emergency financial aid grants to college students. The grants can be used by college students for technology, course materials, food, housing, and healthcare. DeVos distributed the funding to colleges, which are meant to then distribute the aid among students. See here for the specific allocations for each college. 
Economic Stabilization
  • 4/30 – Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the FAA will begin awarding the AIP and other discretionary grants funding through the CARES Act. Press release here. Complete list of grants here. Map of airports receiving funding here
  • 4/10 – Treasury Q&A on Loans to Air Carriers and Eligible Businesses and National Security Businesses here. Loan application here
  • 3/30 – The Treasury Department released guidance on payroll support to airline industry employees, and on loans to the airline industry and businesses critical to national security. Guidance for payroll support here. Guidance on procedures and minimum requirements for loans here. Treasury press release here
State, Local, and Tribal Governments
  • 5/5 – Treasury released distribution details regarding the tribal portion of the Coronavirus Release Fund. The first 60% of the fund will be distributed to tribes based on population used in the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and will include a floor of $100,000. The remaining 40% will be distributed based on the number of individuals employed by the Tribe, including employees of tribally owned entities. Treasury still needs to collect and verify employment data before distributing the second round of funding. Amounts for ANCs will not be distributed, as litigation is still pending. Press release here. Details here
  • More than a dozen tribes have sued the Treasury Department over its guidance identifying Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) as eligible entities for the fund. Last Wednesday, Secretary Mnuchin said that the department would not be releasing funding until Tuesday, April 28 – two days after the deadline outlined in the CARES Act. The court on Monday preliminarily enjoined Treasury from disbursing funds to ANCs.  
  • 5/5 – Treasury released an updated FAQ regarding distribution of CARES Act state/local funds. FAQ here
  • 4/27 – USDA announced that Kansas and Virginia have been approved to operate Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provides assistance to families of children eligible for free or reduced-price meals dealing with school closures.  
  • 4/22 –  Treasury issued guidance on the state/local/tribal governments fund here. The guidance further defines what expenses qualify as “necessary expenditures” and provides examples as well as examples of ineligible expenses. 
  • 4/13 – Treasury launched its web portal for payments to state, local, and tribal governments. Treasury announced that eligible government entities must provide required information by Friday, April 17 to receive payment within the 30-day window allowed under CARES and those that miss that deadline may not receive funding. Submission page here. Some highlights from the announcement below: 
    • Funds are only allowed to be used for expenses which: 
    • Are necessary expenses during the coronavirus emergency; 
    • Were not accounted in the most recent budget (as of March 27, 2020); 
    • Were incurred between 3/1/2020 – 12/30/2020.  
    • Eligible local governments are those below the state level (county, municipality etc.) with a population higher than 500,000. See here for data sources and the distribution methodology.  See here for a list of eligible local government units. 
    • Amounts paid to governments will be based on population and the amounts allocated to states will be reduced by the total amount provided to local governments in the state.   
Oversight
  • 5/7 – Leadership announced the remaining members of the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis. Speaker Pelosi had announced earlier the Democratic members of the Committee Members of the Committee are listed below:
    • Chair Jim Clyburn (D-SC) – Chair 
    • Maxine Waters (D-CA) 
    • Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) 
    • Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) 
    • Bill Foster (D-IL) 
    • Jamie Raskin (D-MD) 
    • Andy Kim (D-NJ) 
    • Steve Scalise (R-LA) – Ranking Member 
    • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) 
    • Rep Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) 
    • Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) 
    • Rep. Mark Green (R-TN)
Supplemental 3.5 – Interim Emergency Coronavirus Relief, formally titled “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act” (HR 266)
The President signed the bill into law on April 24. Text here. Section by section here. Summary of hospital and testing provisions here. DPCC one pager here. Senate Democrats summary of health provisions. Overview of commitments regarding health funding and Medicare advance payments the Administration made as part of negotiations. 

Supplemental III – Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
After a unanimous vote by the Senate, the House passed the bill on March 27 and the President signed the bill into law shortly after. Final text here. Democratic summary here. Republican section by section here

Supplemental II – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201)
The Senate passed the House bill on March 18 and the President signed the bill into law that evening. Bill text here. Factsheet here. Bill section by section here. A summary of paid leave provisions, incorporating changes made by technical correction, is here.

Supplemental I – Coronavirus Supplemental
Signed by the President March 6. Text here, summary here.

Congress

Session: While the Senate returned last week, the House has planned votes on Friday. That timeline could shift, as Democrats may want more time to discuss the bill before a vote.

Hearings and Meetings: The Senate held the first in-person hearings last week, with limited attendance and required social distancing protocols.

Appropriations: While there is no specific markup schedule set, HAC still hopes to begin markups this month. The plan remains to move through COVID Phase 4 before turning to FY21. The bills are almost all of the way there and each subcommittee is due to give final briefs to the full committee front office this week, starting Wednesday. We still expect a rapid-fire markup process. The hope is that all 12 subcommittees can go through subcommittee markups over the course of a week – whenever the markups begin – with most of the full committee markups in the following week. Both majority and minority committee staff would like to rely minimally on remote procedures and are planning to do markups in larger than normal hearing rooms (Cannon Caucus Room or CVC theater) to accommodate proper social distancing. The expected order is the following: LHHS; AG; CJS; SFOPs; E&W; DOD; MilCon; FSGG; Interior; THUD; Homeland; and Leg Branch. HAC-D will be limited in marking up the classified portion of the bill, as staff cannot do so remotely and will need to complete it upon return to their offices.

The FY21 Senate Appropriations schedule has officially slipped. They are no longer saying bills will be marked up prior to July 4, and the timing is likely delayed a minimum of 3 weeks. Chairman Shelby late last week said he’d like to start marking up bills in June, but that the Homeland Security and VA/MILCON bills might not be marked up due to no agreement on 302b allocations. As for caps, Senate Republicans have reached an agreement among themselves to support exempting a Veterans Affairs health care program from budget caps. The agreement still needs sign off from the White House. This move could free up $11 billion for other non-defense discretionary spending priorities. 

NDAA: HASC intends to schedule the markup once the House schedule is clear. Both HASC and SASC are looking to markup NDAA 2021 the week of June 8, with the goal to have a bill to floor before the 4th of July recess. Dates could slip depending on availability of floor time. No SASC hearings are expected until after NDAA markup. HASC finished drafting the Chairman’s Mark two weeks ago and SASC finished drafting last week. Both are reviewing the draft and will be making final tweaks over the next two weeks. 

Remote voting/virtual protocols:  Reps. McGovern and Lofgren officially introduced H.Res 965, which would implement temporary remote voting and allow virtual committee proceedings during the coronavirus pandemic. Tomorrow, the House Committee on Rules will be holding a hearing, markup, and vote on the rule for the resolution. The resolution will receive a vote during the same voting period as the HEROES Act. The proposal would allow, remote committee hearings, committee markups, and voting by proxy on the House Floor. It would also allow remote voting through technology during the pandemic after a system is developed & certified. House Republicans have not been enthusiastic about the prospect of remote markups and Floor action. There also may not be consensus in the Democratic caucus on remote voting and remote committee action. There are front liners and other Members who would rather have Members back in Washington, showing that Congress is taking action and working hard. Rank-and-File are also feeling a growing frustration over not being able to impact the legislative process by virtue of not being in D.C. and physically close to Chairs, Leadership, and other leaders. Geography is another factor – Members who find it easy to get to DC (such as within driving distance), are more amenable to being back in DC. Age is also a factor. 

Members of Congress in Quarantine or Treatment (new additions in bold) 

Tested Positive (0):  

Currently Self-Quarantined (1): Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) 

Recovered (7): Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL) 

Completed Quarantine (37): Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX), Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY), Rep. David Price (D-NC), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) 

Washington, D.C.
  • This Friday at 1 PM, the FDA will host a virtual Town Hall for researchers, clinical laboratories, and commercial manufacturers to discuss the production and use of 3D printed swabs. This is a collaboration between the FDA, the VA Innovation Ecosystem, and the NIH 3D Print Exchange. 
  • The FDA also announced they will host a virtual Town Hall on May 20th at 12:15 PM for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers to help answer questions about the updated COVID-19 diagnostics policy. 
  • Today, the FDA posted a new website with information on use of thermal imaging systems. Thermal imaging systems and non-contact infrared thermometers use different forms of infrared technology to measure temperature, which has remained a common way to check for fever (a symptom of COVID-19). 
  • Vice President Pence had a discussion with higher education leaders today about getting students back to school in the fall. A brief readout of the conversation is available here
  • COVID-19 hearings in Congress this week (memos available upon request):
  • The CDC continues to update and publish additional COVID-19 documents on its dashboard. Today, the CDC published updated information about symptomsracial and ethnic minority groups, and guidance for environmental health practitioners
  • CMS released a new toolkit developed to aid nursing homes, governors, states, departments of health, and other agencies who provide oversight and assistance to these facilities, with additional resources to aid in the fight against COVID-19 in nursing homes. The toolkit is comprised of best practices and builds upon previous actions taken by CMS, which provide a wide range of tools and guidance to states, health care providers, and others.
  • House Democrats released the text of the 1,815-page, $3 trillion HEROES Act (H.R. 6800) yesterday. The text of The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here. Votes are still expected in the House on Friday, despite the Progressive Caucus having written to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking for more time to read through the bill before they vote. For a more in-depth briefing on the legislative landscape and contents of the bill, please refer to the COVID-19 Legislative Update, which is published on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you do not receive the Legislative Update and would like to subscribe, email sfuller@cgagroup.com
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 1,364,061 total cases and 82,246 deaths The CDC data closes out the day before reporting.
  • Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has rejected Gov. Tony Evers's (D) extension of a stay-at-home order to continue the prohibition on most travel and operations of nonessential businesses until May 26th. The conservative-leaning court ruled 4-to-3 that the measure had exceeded the authority given to the top health official under state law. 
  • At least 16 states are now reporting cases of pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS), which researchers believe is linked to COVID-19. New York is now tracking 102 cases in children, 60 percent of whom have tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Updates on lockdowns/reopening:
    • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) previously detailed the first phase of reopening starting Friday, which allows nonessential retail and centers of worship to operate at 50 percent capacity. Northern Virginia, however, will delay implementation of phase one until May 29th.
    • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced she is lifting restrictions across the state starting Friday, permitting salons, barbershops, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, restaurants, fitness centers, libraries, and race tracks to open with appropriate public health measures.
    • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) extended the city's stay-at-home order until June 8th.
    • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an EO permitting resumption of non-essential construction, curbside pickup at non-essential retail businesses, and gatherings in cars starting May 18th.
    • West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that tanning businesses have been added to the list of entities that will be allowed to reopen on May 21st.
    • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced his state's stay-at-home order will be lifted this Friday. Maryland will instead be under a "safer-at-home" public health advisory, which allows retail stores, manufacturing operations, barber shops and hair salons, and churches to open with 50 percent capacity.
  • Useful state data:
    • The NYT is tracking which states are reopening and which are still shut down.
    • These charts show cumulative coronavirus cases and deaths for metropolitan areas over time.
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This resource from Bloomberg Law is a database of State Quarantine and Public Health Laws related to the COVID-19 response.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
    • Finally, this site offers COVID-19 projections assuming full social distancing and can be broken down by state.
International Affairs
  • On Saturday, Germany, France, Austria, and Switzerland will start easing emergency restrictions on their border crossings.
  • Brazil's Ministry of Health reported 11,385 new cases of COVID-19 in 24 hours, the highest number in a single day in the country since the start of the pandemic. 
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for COVID-19 three separate times. The test results were released to the public this afternoon. 
  • In Turkey, Children 14 years of age and under were allowed to go outside on the street today for the first time since early April. The children were allowed to be outside between 11 AM and 3 PM.
  • Sweden's Foreign Affairs Ministry announced it is extending “advice against all nonessential travel to all countries” until July 15th.
  • Saudi Arabia has announced a total lockdown for the end of Ramadan after new cases increased dramatically during the holy month.
  • Health officials in Hong Kong are investigating how a 66-year-old woman and her granddaughter tested positive for COVID-19 after the city had 23 days without a locally transmitted case. The woman reportedly has no recent travel history and hasn’t had contact with known carriers of the disease.
  • South Sudan is one of the countries at risk of a serious food shortage. The FAO recently published data that show prices for wheat have shot up 62 percent and tapioca prices have increased 41 percent since February. The country was already facing famine before the COVID-19 pandemic because they do not have local food production. Now, the situation is even worse. 
  • According to the 2020 World Health Statistics published by WHO today, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant loss of life, disrupting livelihoods, and threatening the recent advances in health and progress towards global sustainable development goals.
  • Global Cases:  4,369,410         Total Deaths:  297,569
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • Chair of the Federal Reserve Jerome Powell warned yesterday that the U.S. is facing an economic hit that could permanently damage the economy if Congress does not provide sufficient policy support to prevent a wave of bankruptcies and prolonged unemployment. Subsequently, the S&P 500 fell an additional 2 percent. 
  • Researchers at NYU Langone Health in New York City said a device manufactured by Abbott Labs, which is widely used to detect COVID-19, missed nearly half of the positive cases detected by another common test. The researchers compared the Abbott ID Now to another device, finding that it missed 48% of positive cases the other machine detected. The NYU study has not been peer-reviewed and was posted online Tuesday ahead of formal publication. At the White House, where President Trump, Vice President Pence and other senior officials are regularly tested using the device, the risk of false negatives was highlighted when two aides tested positive last week.
  • Speech droplets generated by asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus are increasingly considered to be a likely mode of disease transmission, according to a recent study
  • A new government projection shows the U.S. is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record. In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, factories, retailers, restaurants, and office buildings have shut down, which has dramatically decreased demand for electricity. Since coal plants often cost more to operate than gas plants or renewables, many utilities are cutting back on coal power first in response.
  • Tyson Foods plans to reduce prices for ground beef, roasts and other beef products by as much as 20 percent to 30 percent for sales made this week to restaurants, grocery stores, and other customers.
  • Cisco Systems posted lower quarterly sales and projected its first annual sales decline in three years, citing economic effects from COVID-19 that have taken a toll on its core business.
  • Amtrak plans to restart its Acela express service between Washington, D.C. and Boston on June 1st, whether or not there are passengers to ride it. 
  • Uber announced today that all users will be required to wear a mask or face covering starting May 18th to keep them safe as cities start to reopen. The company also said it has allocated $50 million to buy supplies for drivers, including masks, disinfectant sprays, and wipes.
  • Emirates Airlines said today that limited passenger flights would resume to nine destinations — including London and Frankfurt — beginning May 21st.
  • Italy's Serie A soccer clubs held a vote today to resume the season starting on June 13th, pending government approval.
  • Forbes is keeping a running list of all major international airline COVID-19-related change and cancellation policies.
  • The New York Times has started its own tracker of cases in the U.S. to fill in the gaps left by agency data.
  • Lists of canceled conferences and events can be found here (music), here (tech), here (general), and here (sports/entertainment).
Helpful Articles/Media
Please contact me directly with any questions and I would be happy to assist.

Sincerely,
Jessica

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
jessica@iowabio.org
www.iowabio.org
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotech Association, All rights reserved.


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