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Aug 19

August 19, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #106

Posted on August 19, 2020 at 3:09 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


Where were you yesterday and what were you doing?


You missed us, didn’t you?! We didn’t forget. We were preparing a list of all the virus-related lawsuits and attorney general opinions so they’d all be in one place. The volume of the various disputes is large: We count 16 lawsuits, three formal attorney general opinions, and five informal attorney general memos/letters.


Of course, many state agencies have issued letters or guidance as well, but those are typically very specific. We separately report on those if they are city-related and of relatively broad applicability.  A good example are the Secretary of State Elections Division mass emails and advisories. Those are all archived on our “Elections” Q&A page. Every other previous Update is archived by subject as well. Just visit the main TML Coronavirus webpage, and scroll down to “TML Resources,” then “TML Coronavirus Updates (listed by subject).”


Further Updates


What’s the latest from the National League of Cities about what’s happening in Congress?


NLC provided the following updates yesterday (August 18):


Senate Releases Text of New COVID-19 Relief Bill

Yesterday, the Senate GOP released a new COVID-19 relief bill. The “Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act” has no money for state and local governments. It would provide a non-repayable loan from the Treasury to the United States Postal Service if their cash on hand falls below $8 billion.


House Democrats, who are concerned about the financial health of the USPS, plan to come in on Saturday for a special session to vote to approve more money for the organization.  Each party’s bill is a chance to show the country that they are doing something. However, neither bill will become law. Whether negotiations will begin in earnest any time soon remains to be seen.


NLC Sends Letter to Treasury's Office of Inspector General

Last week, NLC sent a letter to the Treasury Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) questioning the premises of a report issued on July 31, 2020. The report showed that costs incurred for recipients of the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) were a fraction of the monies appropriated by Congress.


NLC pointed out a number of issues with the OIG's report and asked to engage the OIG in correcting them:


1. The rolling and delayed guidance out of Treasury slowed the expenses that many recipients could incur. The recipients wanted to wait until there was more concrete, or even any, guidance before they began to expend money.

2. It was only eight to 10 weeks between when Treasury sent the money to recipients and the June 30, 2020, reporting date, providing very little time to expend the money properly.

3. Most of the funds from the CRF are allocated. The states, counties, and cities that received them have made plans on how to use the money between now and the end of the year. Not all of the money would have been expended in the first 8-10 weeks.


NLC is waiting from a response from the Treasury's Office of the Inspector General.


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.