[UPDATE: November 13, 2020]
There has been no new federal legislation at all addressing the urgent needs of individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and state and local governments.
[UPDATE: August 30, 2020]
The HEROES Act, passed by the House in mid-May, has not yet been brought to the Senate Floor. Intermittent negotiations have repeatedly collapsed, and Congress remains on summer recess until after Labor Day. Two small standalone bills passed Congress and became law earlier in the summer. The first, the Protecting Nonprofits from Catastrophic Cash Flow Strain Act, provided a halfway fix to a problem for the many nonprofits that self-insure unemployment benefits. The second temporarily extended the PPP loan program.
[UPDATE: June 30, 2020]
The fifth major COVID-19 bill, the HEROES Act, passed by the House six weeks ago, remains trapped in the Senate without action so far. Any action on it will occur after the July 4th recess.
Otherwise, there was movement in early June by Congress to extend and fix some of the problems with the Payroll Protection Act (PPP). There was also last-minute action taken on June 30th to extend the program for new applicants until August 8th. Other confusion and uncertainty about the PPP remains.
When Congress returns, we may see action on a bipartisan push to extend the charitable deduction to all taxpayers as well as a solution to hardships created earlier under the CARES Act for those nonprofits who self-fund unemployment insurance.
[UPDATE: May 19, 2020]
By the end of the third week of April 2020, Congress passed and the White House signed into law the fourth in a series of special legislative efforts to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. This $484-billion spending package restarts the small-business loan program that quickly ran out of funds. It also provides more money for health-care providers and for virus testing.
A fifth bill, the HEROES Act, has been passed by the House on May 15, 2020. It now moves to the Senate where it will likely face strong resistance. We’ll keep track of, and update, this developing story.
[April 1, 2020]
To date, the federal response to COVID-19 has unrolled in three phases.
Phase 1, H.R. 6704, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act [enacted March 6, 2020] is the necessary supplemental appropriations bill of $8.3 billion to start the process of a massive relief program.
Phase 2, H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, [enacted March 18, 2020] creates new workplace obligations for employers and gives expanded aid to individuals. It includes a complex set of temporary paid leave mandates and employer reimbursement provisions, along with funding for free coronavirus testing, food nutrition security, and an extension of unemployment benefits.
Phase 3, the The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) [enacted March 27, 2020] authorized more than $2 trillion in spending to inject cash into the economy through individuals, businesses, and nonprofits. It includes: