March 25 coronavirus news
Three GOP senators say "a massive drafting error in the current version of the coronavirus relief legislation could have devastating consequences: Unless this bill is fixed, there is a strong incentive for employees to be laid off instead of going to work.”
“We must sadly oppose the fast-tracking of this bill until this text is addressed, or the Department of Labor issues regulatory guidance that no American would earn more by not working than by working," Sens. Tim Scott, Ben Sasse and Lindsey Graham said in a written statement.
What this means: CNN is reaching out to their offices for details of what the error is. But this could mean the bill can’t pass the Senate today because they would block unanimous consent for a quick vote.
CNN's Phil Mattingly is answering your questions on the Senate stimulus package.
On the question regarding help for small businesses in the bill, Mattingly said:
"There’s a lot of focus on the individual checks, but I’m firmly of the mind the small business loan piece of this is far and away the most important given what’s happening right now.
The bill directs $350 billion for loans to small businesses and non-profits with under 500 employees. The loans would be guaranteed by the Small Business Administration but the actual lender would be approved banks and financial institutions, which should get the money out the door faster. Businesses could receive up to $10 million in loans to float employee salaries, payroll expenses, mortgage and other debt payments. If used for those purposes, the loans would be forgiven in the future. It’s a huge deal if it works properly."
Catholic Health Services, which is comprised of six acute care hospitals on Long Island, New York, tells CNN they are now in need of isolation gowns, procedural masks with and without face shields, and N95 respirators of all sizes.
Just last week when asked about the personal protective equipment supply, CHS' chief medical officer told CNN: “We are backed up and supply is stocked.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York state has “enough PPE” for all hospitals statewide for about the next two weeks, but some hospitals are now experiencing shortages.
The state has not secured supply for hospitals to utilize three weeks from now and beyond, "but we're still shopping," he said.
Italy has recorded 683 deaths in the past day, with a total number of 7,503 fatalities from coronavirus, according to the civil protection agency.
In total, Italy has reported at least 74,386 cases of coronavirus.
A draft of the Senate’s stimulus bill makes it clear that some of the efforts to combat coronavirus are intended to help prevent future outbreaks and ensure the government is more prepared for the next pandemic.
According to a draft obtained by CNN, the Centers for Disease Control will get an additional $4.3 billion through fiscal year 2024 “to proven, prepare for and respond to coronavirus” That money includes at least $1.5 billion for grants for states and localities to “carry out surveillance, epidemiology, laboratory capacity, infection control, mitigation, communications and other preparedness.”
The Senate bill also requires the government create a device shortage list, ordering the Strategic National Stockpile to require certain types of medical supplies. The bill asks the National Academies to issue a report on America’s medical product supply chain security.
The legislation includes a provision creating a new Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery, according to a draft of the bill obtained by CNN.
The position, which is within the Treasury Department and Senate confirmable, is tasked with auditing and investigating the loans, loan guarantees and other investments made by the Treasury Secretary under the programs in the stimulus bill. The office is being given a $25 million budget.
The inspector general is designated to keep track of the loans issued, the justification given by the Treasury Secretary for making them, how much of the loans are outstanding and any losses or gains the government has incurred. The legislation instructs the inspector general to provide quarterly reports to Congress summarizing its activities and an up-to-date accounting of the loans and other transactions.
An additional 407 cases of coronavirus and 19 deaths have been reported in Louisiana.
There are at least 1,795 coronavirus cases and 65 deaths in the state.
Orleans Parish, which includes the city of New Orleans, has at least 827 coronavirus cases and 37 deaths.
Spain's deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, has tested positive for Covid-19, the prime minister's office said in a statement.
She had tested negative in previous tests, the statement said, but doctors didn't think those provided conclusive data.
Calvo is receiving medical treatment and progressing favorably, the statement said. She's in quarantine at a hospital.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has four deputy prime ministers. Calvo is the second in command to Sanchez and considered the most powerful of the deputy prime ministers.
The stimulus bill includes limits on raises and compensation for high-paid employees at businesses receiving assistance from the federal government, including potential cuts in pay to those making more than $3 million, according to a draft bill text obtained by CNN.
The legislation includes a prohibition on anyone making more than $425,000 at businesses getting government help from receiving an increase in total compensation from 2019. It also limits severance pay to more than “twice the maximum total compensation received by the officer or employee from the eligible business in calendar year 2019.”
In addition, for those making more than $3 million at businesses receiving funds, the bill states they will only receive 50% of the compensation they received in 2019 above $3 million. That means that someone who received $5 million in compensation in 2019 would only be allowed to make $4 million this year.
The bill defines total compensation as “salary, bonuses, awards of stock and other financial benefits.”
Similar compensation limitations were included in the section of the legislation specifically dealing with funds being provided to the airline industry.