Weekly Reader

Monday, April 6, 2020

Economic Development
OLYMPIA – New claims for unemployment benefits soared to a record 181,975 for the week of March 22-28, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). This represents a 3,513% increase year over year, and a 41% increase over the previous week. By comparison, this is seven times the peak week during the 2008/2009 recession, which was 26,075 weekly initial claims. Including the ongoing weekly claims that were filed, ESD saw roughly 350,000 claims come into its claims center last week. Click here for the entire news release.

According the SHRM “U.S. employers reported cutting 701,000 jobs in March, while the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent from 3.5 percent in February. The worst employment report in a decade is the tip of the iceberg, however. Economists expect a much worse labor market in the months ahead. The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey was conducted in mid-March, before many states issued stay-at-home orders and 10 million people filed for unemployment benefits.” Click here for the rest of the details from SHRM.

The Longview Revolving Loan Fund Board met last week to review operating procedures and put in place temporary policies making it easier to get loan funds delivered to Longview area businesses. Go to our Economic Development page for information. The Economic Development Administration approved the temporary policy changes. The program has around $300,000 to loan currently.

Transportation
From the Washington State Transit Association – “This morning the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced their official apportionments of the CARES Act. In total, public transit agencies, including tribal transits, will revive just under $700 million in relief. Below is a table of what is expected for each region. Please note the Puget Sound Regional Council will allot the “Seattle, WA” amount to the central Puget Sound agencies, including King County Metro, Sound Transit, Pierce Transit, Community Transit, and Everett Transit. These funds will amount to 2-3 times more federal dollars than an agency would generally get in a year. While this is a historic federal appropriation for public transit in Washington and around the country, we must remember federal dollars make up a small portion of total revenue for transit. On average federal dollars only account for roughly 11% of revenues while local revenue, including fairs and local taxes, make up over 85%.

This means

Program 5307 Urbanized Area Funding
Longview, WA-OR $3,585,637

From the National Association of Regional Councils – According to Bloomberg reporting, U.S. agriculture and trucking groups are asking Congress to raise the federal gas tax in an upcoming recovery package to cover needed upgrades to infrastructure. In a letter to leaders of the Snate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee, the American Farm Bureau Federation and American Trucking Associations pushed for a gas tax increase to pay for infrastructure upgrades. The groups highlighted that the policy could be implemented “without adding a dime to a federal deficit that has exploded in recent weeks.” The groups argue that now is the time to raise the tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993, because gas is selling at historically low prices. “Compared to one year ago, Americans are paying about 60 cents per gallon less today for fuel.”

Community Development / Other
The Department of Ecology invites interested parties to attend the upcoming online public events that we are conducting April 2 and April 21 to share information about and take comment on the draft state Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Chehalis River Basin Flood Damage Reduction Project. The draft environmental report is available for review at the Department of Ecology website. Additional information on registration for the events can be found here. Both public events will have the same information and format. They start at 5 p.m. with a presentation. We will begin accepting public comments about 5:45 p.m. You will need to register online separately for each event. Here’s how:

COVID-19

From Gallagher – You can participate in the COVID-19 Pulse Survey Part 2: Employers’ Response. Take the survey here. Over 850 organizations and HR professionals have already shared their thoughts on their organization’s emergency plans with Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Part 1 of the survey. View the infographic.

Here is a link from the Department of Health with some good resources and statistics on the ongoing pandemic.

Resource list from the Washington State Transit Association

Administration Resources

The White House

Memorandum on Providing Federal Support for Governors’ Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19
Memorandum from the President’s Physician
Letter from President Donald J. Trump to Senator Charles E. Schumer
Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding 3M Company
These 30 Days: How You Can Help
Statement from the President Regarding the Defense Production Act
Memorandum on Order Under the Defense Production Act Regarding the Purchase of Ventilators

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Cases in U.S.
Testing in the U.S.
Global case numbers are reported by the World Health Organization (WHO)
Stop the Spread of Rumors
Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Testing at Laboratories
Animals and COVID-19

Small Business Administration
SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program for Small Businesses Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic Launches

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
HUD Makes $200 Million of COVID-19 Relief Funding Available to Help Native American Communities Across the Nation

U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Announces Second Application Window for Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program Funding

Food and Drug Administration
FDA Coordinates National Effort to Develop Blood-Related Therapies for COVID-19
FDA Commissioned Corps Officers on the Front Line of COVID-19 Response
FDA Provides Updated Guidance to Address the Urgent Need for Blood During the Pandemic

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
CMS New Alert April 3, 2020
Trump Administration Issues Key Recommendations to Nursing Homes, State and Local Governments
NIDA Director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic

U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Additional Guidance Following Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Implementation
U.S. Department of Labor Issues Guidance for Respiratory Protection During N95 Shortage Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
U.S. Department of Labor Announces New CARES Act Guidance on Unemployment Insurance for States in Response to COVID-19 Crisis
Statement by U.S. Secretary of Labor Scalia on the March Jobs Report

U.S. Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Enforcement Notice Clarifying Air Carrier Refund Requirements, Given the Impact of COVID-19

Federal Aviation Administration
Guidance to FAA Inspectors

Federal Communications Commission
FCC, FTC Demand Gateway Providers Cut Off COVID-19 Robocall Scammers
FCC Gives VRS Providers Flexibility to Hire More ASL Interpreters
O’Rielly Letter to Congress re: Possible NG911 Funding
FCC Waives Sponsorship ID Requirements for COVID-19 PSAs
FCC Fights COVID-19 with $200M; Adopts Long-Term Connected Care Study

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
What They Are Saying: Public Officials and Stakeholders Voice Support for EPA’s Discretion Policy for COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Department of Commerce
While We Are Home, We Can Still Come Together: Respond to the 2020 Census Today

U.S. Department of Defense
Special Forces Soldiers Make Masks for Health Care Workers
DOD Expands Medical Support in New York City, New Orleans and Dallas
USNS Mercy, USNS Comfort Receiving Patients in LA, New York City

House and Senate Leadership Resources

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Chairwoman Nita Lowey Delivers Weekly Democratic Address
Pelosi Statement on Next Steps in Coronavirus Response
Pelosi Statement on March Jobs Report
Transcript of Pelosi Weekly Press Conference Today

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy
Leader McCarthy on CNBC’s Squawk Box
Leader McCarthy’s Washington Examiner Op-Ed: A Marshall Plan for Main Street

House and Senate Committee Resources

House Education and Labor Committee
Chairman Scott Statement on March Jobs Report

House Financial Services Committee
Waters to Mnuchin and Carranza: Paycheck Protection Program Funds Must Not Be Used to Pay Private Equity or Other Funds

House Oversight and Reform Committee
FDA Changes Blood Donation Policy After Letter from Oversight Committee

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
Chairwoman Johnson Questions CDC Decision-Making on COVID-19 Testing Protocols

House Small Business Committee
Chairwoman Velazquez on March Jobs Report

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee
Committee Announces Paper Hearing on Big Data and Coronavirus

Senate Finance Committee
ICYMI: COVID-19 won’t close our doors as we pull together
CARES Act Retirement Provisions FAQs