As piecemeal agency regulations on the $2.2 trillion 'Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act are released, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) continues to provide analysis, resources, briefings and guidance to state legislatures. NCSL continues to engage with the Trump administration to ensure enacted COVID-19 response laws are implemented by federal agencies in the best interests of states and is working with Congress to encourage leaders to provide additional resources—financial or otherwise—to help ameliorate the catastrophic economic and public health effects of COVID-19.
NCSL In D.C.
FDA Guidance on Drug Shortages and COVID-19 Testing Updates
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced actions taken to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including its continued work with manufacturers to ensure they are notifying the FDA of any permanent discontinuance or interruption of drug and biological product manufacturing. The March 2020 guidance contains timelines and the details manufacturers need to follow when notifying the FDA, as well as information on what they need to prevent or mitigate shortages.
The agency also provided a diagnostic update to highlight its work with 220 test developers who agreed to submit emergency use authorizations requests to the FDA for tests to detect COVID-19. The agency continues to provide updates on this and other developments being done under its COVID-19 Policy for Diagnostic Tests during this emergency.
Online Toolkit for Telehealth for Nursing Homes Released
Last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an online toolkit for telehealth and telemedicine for long-term care nursing home facilities. The agency has broadened access to Medicare telehealth services so beneficiaries can receive a wider range of services without having to make unnecessary travel to a health care facility. Information is primarily for providers wanting to establish a permanent telemedicine program but can also be used by those wanting to help in the temporary deployment of a telemedicine program.
EPA Adds New Disinfectants for Use Against Coronavirus
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added 70 new surface disinfectants to the EPA List-N of Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, bringing the total number of products on the list to more than 350. This list only includes surface disinfectants registered by the EPA, though other disinfection products like hand sanitizers and body wipes are regulated by the FDA.
HHS Funds Awarded to Health Centers
The Health and Human Service Department has awarded $100 million to 1,300 health centers. The funding will go to community health centers to assist them in expanding screening and testing for COVID-19. Money will be divided among the 1,300 centers and will also help with the purchase of personal protective equipment and to provide safety education. This funding is from the first COVID-19 stimulus legislation that was signed into law on March 6.
New Rules for Hospitals
The CMS issued new temporary rules that will help hospitals expand their capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new allowances will be designed for health care workers to treat more patients, help separate patients with COVID-19 from those without it and increase telehealth care flexibilities for Medicare patients. Some of the changes will allow:
- Ambulatory centers to be used for cancer or trauma care to protect patients from COVID-19 exposure.
- Non-hospital sites to be used for treating or quarantining patients.
- Hospitals and lab technicians to test for COVID-19 in patients’ homes or in community-based settings outside of hospitals.
- Hospitals to have new flexibilities to allow them to rapidly expand their workforce.
EPA and NHTSA Issue New Fuel Economy Regulations
The EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued new greenhouse gas emission and Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for light-duty motor vehicles. Read NCSL’s InfoAlert.
EPA Delays Transition to Summertime Fuel, Citing Low Demand Due to COVID-19
The EPA announced it will delay from May 1 to May 20, the deadline for fuel terminals to stop selling winter-grade gasoline and begin selling summer-grade gasoline. Summer-grade gasoline is formulated to reduce emissions that form smog in the summer months. Currently, the nation's fuel distribution system is using winter-grade gasoline that normally sells during springtime, but instead remains in terminals and pipelines because of demand reduction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
USDOT Issues Maintenance of Service for Airlines to Receive Stimulus Aid
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a number of requirements for passenger airlines as a condition of receiving aid from the stimulus package. Although the DOT would allow passenger airlines to consolidate flights to a single airport in cities with more than one airport, airlines would have to maintain daily service, though not more than one flight, to cities that previously had daily service from at least one other airport. The rule would prohibit any coordination between passenger carriers that would run afoul of antitrust laws. Airlines had been seeking permission to more broadly codeshare flights.
USDOT Orders Airlines to Provide Refunds for Cancelled Flights
The DOT announced that passenger airlines must fully refund airfare to passengers whose flights have been canceled during the outbreak of COVID-19. “Although the COVID-19 public health emergency has had an unprecedented impact on air travel, the airlines’ obligation to refund passengers for canceled or significantly delayed flights remains unchanged,” according to the DOT. The notice said it would “provide carriers an opportunity to become compliant,” which includes notifying passengers they qualify for full refunds, updating refund policies and reviewing refund policies with their employees. The notice concludes that any policy “that purports to deny refunds to passengers when the carrier cancels a flight, makes a significant schedule change, or significantly delays a flight to be a violation of the carriers’ obligation that could subject the carrier to an enforcement action.”
DOE Will Lease Out SPR Storage
The Department of Energy (DOE) formally announced it would be leasing storage space in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) that could hold up to 30 million barrels. DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette justified the move, noting: "filling the SPR with crude oil, produced by American companies that are facing catastrophic losses and increased financial hardship, is a logical action for the federal government to take as we work to overcome the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19 and intentional, global oil market disruptions." The DOE also noted that it was planning to make 47 million more barrels of storage available following this initial move, filling the SPR's remaining capacity.
The Reading Room
- COVID-19: The Basics of Domestic Defense Response (CRS, April 3, 2020)
- The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers: COVID-19 Assistance (CRS, April 3, 2020)
- Webcasting in the Time of COVID-19: Copyright Implications of Remote Worship & Distance Learning (CRS, April 3, 2020)
- 2020 Census Fieldwork Delayed by COVID-19 (CRS, April 2, 2020)
- Federal Prisoners and COVID-19: Background and Authorities to Grant Release (CRS, April 2, 2020)
- Personal Protective Equipment and Ventilators for COVID-19: FDA Regulation and Related Activities (CRS, April 2, 2020)
- The CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) Section 4008: FDIC Bank Debt Guarantee Authority (CRS, April 2, 2020)
- The Economic Development Administration and the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) (CRS, April 2, 2020)
- COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Commission (COC) (April 2, 2020)
- COVID-19: Defense Support of Civil Authorities (April 2, 2020)
- COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Will Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Beneficiaries Receive the Recovery Rebate in the CARES Act? (CRS, April 2, 2020)
- HR 6201, Families First Coronavirus Response Act (CBO, April 2, 2020)
- State Efforts Could Help Alleviate Effects of Volatility in Economy Roiled by Coronavirus (Pew, April 2, 2020)
- The Coronavirus Relief Fund (CARES Act, Title V): Background and State and Local Allocations (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Senior Nutrition Programs’ Response to COVID-19 (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Small Businesses and COVID-19: Relief and Assistance Resources (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Support for Homeless Youth in the Context of COVID-19: A Brief Overview (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act—Tax Relief for Individuals and Businesses (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- “Technical Corrections” to Tax Reform (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Are Startups Eligible for the SBA’s New Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans? (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Reductions (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Medicare Overview (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) Reductions (CRS, April 1, 2020)
- Economic Downturns: State Budget Pressures and Priorities in Challenging Times (Pew, March 31, 2020)
- COVID-19 and Direct Payments to Individuals: Summary of the 2020 Recovery Rebates in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) (CRS, March 31, 2020)
- Federal Reserve: Recent Actions in Response to COVID-19 (CRS, March 31, 2020)
- Overview: The Department of Defense and COVID-19 (CRS, March 31, 2020)
- Tax Treatment of Net Operating Losses (NOLs) in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (CRS, March 31, 2020)
- USDA Domestic Food Assistance Programs’ Response to COVID-19: P.L. 116-127, P.L. 116-136, and Related Efforts (CRS, March 31, 2020)
- COVID-19: The Financial Industry and Consumers Struggling to Pay Bills (CRS, March 31, 2020)
- COVID-19: The Employee Retention Tax Credit (CRS, March 31, 2020)
- S. 3045, Cybersecurity Vulnerability Identification and Notification Act of 2020 (CBO, March 30, 2020)
- COVID-19: International Trade and Access to Pharmaceutical Products (CRS, March 30, 2020)
- Overview of Recent Responses to COVID-19 by the Judicial Conference of the United States, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and Select Courts Within the Federal Judiciary (CRS, March 30, 2020)
- Public Transportation and Amtrak Funding in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) (CRS, March 30, 2020)
- The Courts and COVID-19 (CRS, March 30, 2020)
- Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program (CRS, March 30, 2020)
- Withdrawals and Loans from Retirement Accounts for COVID-19 Expenses (CRS, March 27, 2020)
- The Federal Reserve’s Legal Authorities for Responding to the Economic Impacts of COVID-19 (CRS, March 27, 2020)
- National Security Implications of Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Technologies (CRS, March 27, 2020)
- Limits on Business Interest Deductions Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (CRS, March 27, 2020)
- Federal Reserve: Emergency Lending (CRS, March 27, 2020)
- COVID-19: Response of the Oil and Gas Pipelines Sector (CRS, March 27, 2020)
- COVID-19 Response: Constitutional Protections for Private Property (CRS, March 27, 2020)
Read the March 30 Capitol to Capitol.
NCSL's Advocacy in Washington
NCSL's Washington staff advocate Congress, the White House and federal agencies on behalf of state legislatures in accord with the policy directives and resolutions that are recommended by the NCSL Standing Committees and adopted by the full conference at the annual NCSL Legislative Summit Business Meeting. As a result of the advocacy that is guided by these policies' positions, NCSL is recognized as a formidable lobbying force in state-federal relations.
NCSL Staff in Washington, D.C.
- Molly Ramsdell | 202-624-3584 | Director
- Erlinda Doherty | 202-624-8698 | Budgets and Revenue
- Susan Frederick | 202-624-3566 | Law, Criminal Justice, and Public Safety
- Abbie Gruwell 202-624-3569 | Commerce and Financial Services
- Ben Husch | 202-624-7779 | Natural Resources and Infrastructure
- Jon Jukuri | 202-624-8663 | Labor, Economic Development and International Trade
- Haley Nicholson | 202-624-8662 | Health and Human Services
- Austin Reid | 202-624-8678 | Education