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This week, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law H.R. 266, the interim coronavirus response package (known as Phase 3.5). The bill includes:
- $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- $10 billion for PPP administrative costs
- $50 billion for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program
- $10 billion for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Grant program
- $75 billion for hospitals
- $25 billion for testing
- The Treasury Department and the SBA issued a joint statement announcing that the SBA will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27, at 10:30 a.m.
- U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) stated that his goal is to complete the Phase 4 stimulus package by May 4 and vote soon after. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stressed that the next response bill will not pass without aid for state and local governments. Pelosi responded, “a number equivalent to what we’ve done for small businesses.” Democrats’ priorities for the bill include:
- Aid for state and local governments, monthly cash assistance
- Protections for renters
- Money to boost mail-in voting
- Free health care coverage for coronavirus patients
- Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
State of Iowa Update
On Friday, April 24, Governor Reynolds announced that health care providers can begin the process of resuming some elective surgeries and procedures; parameters are outlined in the ninth State of Public Health Disaster Emergency Declaration which was effective immediately.
The declaration provides guidelines for resuming elective surgeries, permits farmers markets to begin limited operations through a phased approach, and provides other relief to Iowans affected by the disaster.
In her press conference, the Governor indicated that Iowans can expect to learn more about those disaster proclamation provisions that are set to expire on April 30 on Monday, April 27. The Governor also indicated that she intends to roll out measures to open the state.
The Iowa House and Senate leadership will need to make a decision about commencing the 2020 legislative session, as it has been formally suspended until at least April 30. The Legislative Council is slated to meet sometime next week by teleconference. The Legislative Council can approve an additional approve extension of adjournment, which would be authorized by Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 102.
The 2020 legislative session was slated for 100-days, with the 100th day falling on Tuesday, April 21. When the legislature filed SCR102 on March 16 in response to COVID-19, around 30 days were remaining of the 100-day session. Leadership has not yet decided if the legislature will finish out all 30 days or if the session will be abridged, it will depend on when the general assembly can return.
Earlier this week, Governor Reynolds launched the Test Iowa initiative to expand testing capacity to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. The state is partnering with Nomi Health and DOMO which are part of a partnership that already launched a similar initiative in the state of Utah.
The Test Iowa Initiative includes an assessment that was developed in coordination with the Department of Public Health, which will inform Iowans of their current health status, whether they should get a COVID-19 test, and instructions on how to get tested. The assessment asks about existing symptoms and occupational considerations.
All Iowans are encouraged to go to TestIowa.com and complete the assessment. The essential workforce is especially encouraged to take the assessment and if needed, get tested.