COVID-19 Public Policy Update: April 3, 2020
In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Partnership will provide a daily update on public policies and other newsworthy items from local, state and national levels of government.
All levels of government continue to respond to the economic and public health impacts of COVID-19. At the federal level, the Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration issued guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program, the $350 billion initiative through the CARES Act to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. At the state level, Governor Greg Abbott waived some regulations for emergency medical service (EMS) providers, including some license and application renewal requirementsÂ toÂ increase EMS worker availability.Â AtÂ the local level, Houston ISD has announced plans to resume meal distribution this Monday and will provide about 500 meals at 4-5 sites daily.Â
FederalÂ Paycheck Protection Program Launched on Friday
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.Â On Thursday evening, the Department of the Treasury and Small Business Administration issuedÂ guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program. The guidance, sampleÂ application andÂ other key resources can be found here:
For a top-line overview of the program click here.
If youâre a lender, more information can be found here.
If youâre a borrower, more information can be found here.
Final Borrower Application FormÂ *NEW*Â
Lender Electronic Data FormÂ *NEW*Â
Paycheck Protection Program â Interim Final RuleÂ *NEW*Â
House Committee on Coronavirus OversightÂ
â¯House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is creating a House Select Committee on the coronavirus response, which will be chaired by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.Â
The committeeâs focus is stated to be the current status of the federal pandemic response and looking forward, not to address the initial response. However, the Speaker commented there will be a time for review of the initial response at a later date.Â Â
The committee will be charged with examining the federal response while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and to save lives, deliver relief, and benefit the economy. The committee will have subpoena power according to the Speaker.Â Â
Speakerâs Press Release announcing committee formation.
Approximately 6.65 million Americans have filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total claims for the last two weeks to almost 10 million.Â Â
Direct Payments to Americans
â¯Within two weeks the first direct deposits will be made.Â Â
Social security recipients will not have to file a new tax return. They will qualify for the payment. If one does not have direct deposit, a portal will be made available to provide a process to receive the payment.Â
â¯As of Tuesday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University is reporting over 230,000 cases, and over 5,700 deaths.Â Â
Governor Greg Abbott waived some regulations for emergency medical service (EMS) providers, including some license and application renewal requirementsÂ in an effort toÂ increase EMS worker availability.Â
As ofÂ noonÂ on April 2: 4,669 cases in Texas. 70 deaths. 143 counties reporting cases. 50,679 tests administered.Â
Public EducationÂ Houston ISD Food DistributionÂ
Houston ISD has announced plans to resume meal distribution this Monday and will provide about 500 meals at 4-5 sites daily. A map of the food distribution here.Â
Higher EducationÂ Â Higher Education Institutions
Fall 2020 enrollment forecasts are starting to be reviewed as institutions continue to understand the financial implications of COVID-19.Â â¯Â
$14 billion of the Education Stabilization Fun within the CARES Act will go directly to institutions based a formula which allocates 75% to the full-time enrollment (FTE) of PELL recipients and 25% of non-PELL FTE.â¯ The formula excludes students who were fully online prior to COVID-19.Â
Visit the Partnership'sÂ COVID-19 ResourceÂ page for updates, guidance for employers and more information. And sign up forÂ daily email alertsÂ from the Partnership as the situation develops.Â