Coronavirus Government Response Update—Schumer Calls for $175 Billion to Safely Reopen Schools

July 22, 2020 Coronavirus Government Response Update—Schumer Calls for $175 Billion to Safely Reopen Schools

Welcome to the Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep ISSA members up to date on fast-moving government affairs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other public policy issues important to the cleaning industry. Today’s update touches on Sen. Charles Schumer calling for US$175 billion in federal funding to reopen schools safely, details of the proposed Republican coronavirus relief bill for businesses, an economist’s estimate of what virus relief should be to avert a recession, and more.

Schumer: $175 Billion in Federal Funds Needed to Safely Reopen Schools
Sen. Charles Schumer (NY-D) argued that $175 billion in federal funding is needed in order to reopen schools safely. ““Everyone wants our schools to reopen, but the federal government must lead the way by funding the safety measures that would open the doors of New York and the nation’s schools in a way that helps ensure the coronavirus does not needlessly spread or infect teachers, kids or staff,” Schumer said in a news release. “Without federal dollars to cover the massive costs of personal protective equipment, barriers, cleaning supplies and more, local school budgets across Upstate New York would be crushed, local taxes could rise and some schools might simply stay closed—and we do not want that.” 

McConnell’s Preview of GOP Coronavirus Relief Bill: What’s in It for Businesses?
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY-R) noted what businesses should expect in the forthcoming Republican coronavirus relief proposal. According to The Hill, there will be a targeted second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding to businesses under a certain size, and a five-year shield from lawsuits tied to coronavirus infections unless an entity engaged in gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Additionally, the Republican proposal will reimburse businesses for expenses tied to protective equipment, additional cleaning, testing, and structural changes that need to be made to protect workers and customers. ISSA has been actively promoting a reopening safely tax credit.

Virus Relief Package Must be at Least $1.5 Trillion to Ward off Double-Dip Recession, Economist Estimates
Economist Mark Zandi estimates it will cost $1.5 trillion in order to avert a double-dip recession. “The price will “keep going up the more infections we have,” he said. “Businesses are going backward as the virus has intensified and creating all kinds of havoc in different parts of the country,” Zandi said. “By August or September if we don’t get a very large support package from lawmakers, I think we’ll see some outright job losses.”

FEMA Head Says Coronavirus Hotspots May Face PPE Shortages, U.S. Isn’t ‘Out of the Woods’
U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor told lawmakers Wednesday that the country could face shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) in areas with climbing COVID-19 cases, calling the reliance on overseas suppliers a “national security issue.” While the U.S. has more face masks, gloves and other PPE now compared with two months ago, a surge in demand in states with growing coronavirus hospitalizations and cases could cause “micro-shortages,” Gaynor said.

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