Trouncing Expectations by 10 Million Jobs, the Labor Market’s Comeback Has Begun: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May Employment Situation report shows that the United States economy added 2.5 million jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell from 14.7 percent to 13.3 percent. Employment increased significantly in leisure and hospitality (1.2 million), construction (464,000), education and health services (424,000), retail trade (368,000), and manufacturing (225,000). These job gains surprised forecasters, given many States were only beginning to reopen their economies during the reports’ survey reference periods (the week/pay period that includes May 12). The median of all private sector forecasts predicted 7.5 million job losses in May and an unemployment rate of 19.2 percent. More here.
President Trump Signs Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020: On June 5 in White House Rose Garden, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020. Among other provisions, the Act modifies the Paycheck Protection Program allowing businesses qualify for loan forgiveness up to $10 million if they meet certain criteria. The Act also extends the period in which business can spend funds in order to have them forgiven.
Vice President Mike Pence Meets with Community Leaders to Discuss Protests, Racial Injustice: On June 5, Vice President Mike Pence met with community leaders at the Hope Christian Church in Prince George’s County, MD to discuss the protests going on around the nation to address racial injustice. You can view the listening session here and find remarks here.
First Lady Melania Trump Participates in Zoom Meeting with Experts on Social Emotional Learning: On June 4, First Lady Melania Trump and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos participated in a Zoom meeting for a briefing by Karen Baicker, executive director of the Yale Child Study Center-Scholastic Collaborative for Child and Family Resilience and Denise Daniels, author of “The Moodsters” and “First Aid for Feelings,” on Social Emotional Learning Techniques (SEL) and the mental health implications of COVID-19 as it relates to children and families. Among other topics, the First Lady, Secretary DeVos and participants spoke about the major mental health challenges that impact our young people and what can be done to address this and how parents can best collaborate with mental health professionals and school officials during these uncertain times.
President Trump Signs Executive Order on Accelerating the Nation’s Economic Recovery from the COVID-19 Emergency by Expediting Infrastructure Investments and Other Activities: On June 4, President Trump signed an Executive Order that would expedite permitting for infrastructure projects, building on earlier orders to ease regulations for industry. The order directs federal agencies, including Interior, Agriculture and Defense departments and the Army Corps of Engineers, to hasten the permitting processes required under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act. Read more here. On May 19, President Trump signed an Executive Order to slash red tape in order to revitalize the economy and get Americans back to work. Find more on the Administration’s efforts to put people over paperwork here. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic alone, the Administration has taken over 600 regulatory actions, including suspensions, waivers, and enforcement discretions.
HHS Announces New Laboratory Data Reporting Guidance for COVID-19 Testing: On June 4, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new Guidance that specifies what additional data must be reported to HHS by laboratories along with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) test results. The requirements include demographic data like race, ethnicity, age, and sex. This data will provide information needed to better monitor disease incidence and trends by initiating epidemiologic case investigations, assisting with contact tracing, assessing availability and use of testing resources, and anticipating potential supply chain issues.
HHS Awards $20.3 Million to Expand the Addiction Workforce in Underserved Communities: On June 2, HHS awarded $20.3 million to 44 recipients to increase the number of fellows at accredited addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry fellowship programs. The awardees will train addiction specialists at facilities in high need communities that integrate behavioral and primary care services. These awards demonstrate the Trump Administration’s commitment to help Americans suffering from opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders. Awardees will invest in clinical training of addiction medicine and addiction psychiatry subspecialists to combat the opioid crisis.
HHS Provides an Additional $250 Million to Help U.S. Health Care Systems Response to COVID-19: On June 2, HHS announced the allocation of an additional $250 million to aid U.S. health care systems treating patients and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As authorized by the CARES act, HHS has now provided a total of $350 million to health care systems for pandemic response, including $100 million released in April 2020.
Federal Reserve Updates Terms and Eligibility for Municipal Liquidity Facility: On April 9, the Department of Treasury and Federal Reserve launched a Main Street Business Lending program and a Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) to support the flow of credit to American workers, businesses, States, counties, and cities across the Nation impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The MLF will provide up to $500 billion in direct financing to States and eligible units of local government (counties with > 500,000 population and cities with > 250,000 population) to help ensure they have the funds necessary to provide essential services to citizens and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To expand the availability of the MLF in those States without units of local governments meeting the population thresholds, governors in 20 states now have the ability to designate at least one additional city or county to participate in the program under updated guidelines, which can be found here. according to guidelines issued Wednesday. More information on the MLF can be found here.
DOJ Awards Nearly $400 Million for Law Enforcement Hiring to Advance Community Policing: On June 2, the U.S. Department of Justice announced nearly $400 million in grant funding through the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) COPS Hiring Program (CHP). The Attorney General announced funding awards to 596 law enforcement agencies across the nation, which allows those agencies to hire 2,732 additional full-time law enforcement professionals. The awards announced are inclusive of the $51 million announced in May as part of Operation Relentless Pursuit.
USDA Issues First Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Payments: On June 4, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) has already approved more than $545 million in payments to producers who have applied for the Coronavirus Food Assistance program. FSA began taking applications on May 26, and the agency has received over 86,000 applications for this important relief program. The top five states for CFAP payments are Illinois, Kansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Learn more about the CFAP program, which provides $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to farmers and ranchers across the country here.
Small Business Administration and Treasury Department Announce $10 Billion for CDFIs to Participate in the Paycheck Protection Program: On May 28, SBA announced that it is setting aside $10 billion of Round 2 funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to be lent exclusively by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs work to expand economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing access to financial products and services for local residents and businesses. These dedicated funds will further ensure that the PPP reaches all communities in need of relief during the COVID-19 pandemic – a key priority for President Trump. As of May 23, 2020, CDFIs have approved more than $7 billion ($3.2 billion in Round 2) in PPP loans. The additional $6.8 billion will ensure that entrepreneurs and small business owners in all communities have easy access to the financial system, and that they receive much-needed capital to maintain their workforces.
FEMA Releases COVID-19 Pandemic Operation Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season: In preparing for the 2020 hurricane season, the Federal Emergency Management Agency released guidance to State, local, Tribal, and Territorial officials to help them prepare for response and recovery operations. While the document focuses on hurricane season preparedness, most planning considerations can also be applied to any disaster operation in the COVID-19 environment, including no-notice incidents, spring flooding and wildfire seasons, and typhoon response.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if we can be helpful. As a reminder, WH IGA is the primary liaison between the White House and the country’s State and local elected officials and Tribal Governments.
The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
William F. Crozer Special Assistant to the President/Deputy Director