House Democrats, joined by 10 Republicans, on Jan. 13 voted 232-197 to impeach President Trump for a historic second time on charges that he incited last week’s insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer. (NBC News and Fortune, Jan. 13)
- No date has been set yet for Trump’s second impeachment trial in the Senate, although it could begin on the day of the inauguration of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. The timing is uncertain as two new Democratic Senators from Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, await state electoral certification early next week. Vice President-elect Harris’s replacement—California Secretary of State Alex Padilla—is expected to be sworn in shortly after the inauguration.
- Some Democrats want a later trial date to give the incoming Administration time to establish their policy agenda and work on immediate COVID-19 priorities. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 14)
- “We are working with Republicans to try to find a path forward,” said a spokesperson for Sen. Chuck Schumer, who will become majority leader. (AP, Jan. 14)
- As the Jan. 20 Biden-Harris inauguration approaches, 21,000 National Guard troops have been authorized for deployment to Washington, which is approximately three times the total number of American troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Syria. Troops have not been stationed in the Capitol since the US Civil War in the 1860s. (Washington Post, Military Times, Jan. 14 and New York Times, Jan. 13)
[Photo above: Virginia National Guard Airmen assigned to the 192nd Security Forces Squadron, 192nd Mission Support Group, 192nd Wing help to secure the grounds near the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Bryan Myhr)]
- The Roundtable’s Homeland Security Task Force and Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RE-ISAC) has been working with groups who are preparing and planning for potential related protests which may occur in the District of Columbia and in State capitals across the United States. (Homeland Security Today, After the Capitol Riot, What Is Your State of Preparedness?, Jan. 14)
- As the combined force strength of National Guard military personnel and federal and state law enforcement agencies continues to expand in Washington, DC, the attention is shifting to making sure that State capital complexes, government facilities (owned and leased) and adjacent properties are on alert, well-defended and are supporting this effort, as intelligence continues to be collected.
Biden’s “American Rescue Plan”
- President-elect Biden last night proposed a $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package that may attract Senate Republican opposition over Democratic priorities, such as aid to state and local governments. (Bloomberg Law, Jan. 14)
- The latest COVID-19 stimulus proposal—called the “American Rescue Plan”—would build on earlier relief packages and provide emergency measures to meet immediate health care and economic needs. The incoming Administration is expected to unveil a broader plan in February before Biden’s first appearance before a joint session of Congress that will focus on long-term goals such as infrastructure and climate change. (B-Gov and The Washington Post, Jan. 14)
A summary prepared by Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck (Jan. 14) describes Biden’s proposed American Rescue Plan as including:
- $350 billion for state and local governments
- $160 billion in funding for a national program of vaccination, testing and other coronavirus containment efforts
- $30 billion in rental and utility assistance for low- and moderate-income households, with an extension of the federal residential eviction moratorium (currently set to expire on Jan. 31) until Sept. 30, 2021
- $1,400 per person stimulus checks for qualifying individuals (in addition to the $600 approved in December)
- $400 per week in supplementary unemployment benefits through September
- $130 billion to help schools reopen
- $25 billion for childcare providers
- $20 billion for hard-hit public transit agencies
- $15 billion in directs grants to small businesses, and a $35 billion investment in state and local small business financing programs to leverage additional lending
- The proposal would also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour and expand food assistance, child tax credits, and medical and family leave. (Washington Post, Jan. 14)
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Jan. 14 supported Biden’s stimulus package proposal. “The emergency relief framework announced by the incoming Biden-Harris administration tonight is the right approach,” Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. “We will get right to work to turn President-elect Biden’s vision into legislation that will pass both chambers and be signed into law.” (Reuters, Jan. 14)
- Biden’s proposal follows the most recent COVID relief package that Congress passed before the holidays, part of omnibus legislation that funds federal operations through September 30, 2021. (Roundtable Weekly, Dec. 22, 2020)
SBA Reopens Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
- The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department, will re-open the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal today, Jan. 15, to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications. (SBA news release, Jan. 13)
- The portal will fully open on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 to all participating PPP lenders to submit First and Second Draw loan applications to SBA.
- SBA granted initial PPP access earlier in the week for lending in low-income and underserved communities, and to allow “second draw” loans for qualifying small businesses that received credit under earlier phases of the lending program. (Journal of Accountancy, Jan. 13)
The deadline for Second Draw PPP loan applications has been extended to March 31, 2021. (NexTech, Jan. 12 and SBA Interim final rule). Updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources are available at www.sba.gov/ppp and www.treasury.gov/cares.
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