March 12, 2020
COVID-19 Presidential Address
Last night, President Trump outlined a number of actions his Administration intends to take in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. He also made several requests of Congress. Following is a brief overview.
European Travel Ban: The President announced a 30-day travel ban on individuals traveling from the 26 European countries of the Schengen Area. The President subsequently issued a Presidential Proclamation on the travel ban.
- Effective March 13at 11:59 PM
- United Kingdom and Ireland exempt
- American citizens and permanent residents abroad not impacted, per a DHS clarifying statement
- Cargo not restricted, despite the President’s remarks
IRS Tax Filing Deadline: The President announced that he will direct the Treasury Department to allow taxpayers to defer tax payments beyond the April 15 deadline. An announcement is expected today.
- On Tuesday, Secretary Mnuchin said he is considering providing substantial relief to certain taxpayers in the form of an extension on the tax filing deadline.
- Treasury anticipates an extension would inject the equivalent of $200 billion into the American economy.
- Mnuchin speculated the extensions will be for both individual and small businesses.
- Remains unclear if a delay will require expanded authority from Congress.
Health Insurance Co-Payments: The President announced that health insurance industry leaders had promised all co-payments for coronavirus treatments will be waived.
- A spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a major health insurance trade group, said to Politico that the insurance industry had actually only promised to waive co-payment for coronavirus testing, but not the co-payment for full treatment.
Small Business Administration: The President instructed SBA to provide low-interest loans to firms in impacted areas, which it already has the authority to do.
- Requested Congress fund the SBA’s loan program with an additional $50 billion
Payroll Tax Relief: The President called on Congress to provide immediate payroll tax relief.
Democratic leaders in the House, not persuaded by this promise, have introduced legislation that requires private health insurance companies to cover virus testing without co-payments while eliminating fees for patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Indian Health Service. While President Trump did not mention mandatory paid sick leave in his speech, this legislation would give up to three months of emergency paid sick leave for every worker affected by COVID-19. This includes expenses stemming from caregiving responsibilities and mandatory quarantine.