There is more than $2 trillion on the line and the multi-trillion-dollar question is: Who’s minding the store? On March 27, 2020, in response to the financial set-back created by the novel COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump signed into law the more than $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) – by far the largest economic relief package in U.S. history. The CARES Act’s purpose is to keep the U.S. economy afloat and provide relief to struggling Americans, large corporate sectors, and small businesses while the nation battles this pandemic. With $500 billion allocated for big corporations, $377 billion for small businesses, and another $153.5 billion for healthcare, these relief moneys (like with most government funds) are sure to come with strings attached in the form of complex regulations and substantial oversight, with enforcement not far behind. Continue Reading
Last week the White House issued two additional Executive Orders (“EOs”) related to EO 13909, the subject of our March 20, 2020 blog post: Presidential Executive Order Calls on HHS to Issue Priority Contracts and Allocate Scarce Medical Resources. Continue Reading
COVID-19 (a.k.a. the Coronavirus) is upon us and it looks like it is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. In January, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the Coronavirus outbreak to constitute a Public Health Emergency, and on March 13, 2020, President Trump declared it a National Emergency. The President noted that the spread of the virus “threatens to strain our Nation’s healthcare systems.” As medical needs surge coupled with increases in state and city shutdowns to combat and contain the virus, a drain on government resources is almost certain. As such, in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, many companies are looking for ways to help, and some are willing to do so at no cost through free goods and services to the United States Government in hopes of alleviating such strain. Many companies, however, fear that such gifts might be prohibited under federal gift rules and the Antideficiency Act (an Act originating in the 1880s that, in some cases, prevents the Government from accepting voluntary services). This article explores how companies can provide free goods and services to the Government within the strictures of applicable statutes and regulations. Continue Reading
On March 18, 2020, the President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, H.R. 6201, Pub. L. No. 116-127 (the “Coronavirus Response Act”). Among other measures in response to the current pandemic, this legislation offers manufacturers and distributors of industrial-grade face masks, referred to as “personal respiratory protective devices,” immunity from liability arising from use of the masks in connection with COVID-19. This immunity is retroactive to January 27, 2020, will last through October 1, 2024, and stems from the Federal Government’s effort to respond to the shortage of available masks. The law follows the Food & Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization for emergency use of industrial-grade face masks in health care settings on March 2, 2020. Continue Reading
A January proposal to give banks compliance slack floated by a high-ranking Federal Reserve Board (“FRB”) official has not yet gained the traction its supporters had hoped for.
Last week, we (Ryan and Jonathan) published the COVID-19 Federal Contractor’s Survival Guide in the Coalition For Government Procurement’s Friday Flash. The Guide was very well received – perhaps because it didn’t once instruct anyone to wash his/her hands – and several readers asked us to expand it to cover additional topics and new developments. Because the COVID-19 contracting landscape is changing so fast, we agreed an update made sense. To make the update as comprehensive as possible, we have retained the information from the original Survival Guide, and supplemented it with a wealth of new information, including answers to the questions asked during last week’s Coalition Survival Guide webinar, which is available for free download from the Coalition here.
On March 25, 2020 the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill “[p]roviding emergency assistance and healthcare response for individuals, families and businesses affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” The House and the President are both expected to approve the Bill in short order. The Bill contains many provisions important to all companies, including government contractors. Sheppard Mullin’s Government Contracts, Investigations and International Trade Practice Group prepared a summary of the Bill, available here. In addition, for your reference, we are providing a section-by-section analysis from Capitol Hill, as well as the text of the bill itself. Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the legislation or its implementation. Continue Reading
On March 18, 2020, the President issued an Executive Order on Prioritizing and Allocating Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19 (the “EO”). The EO was issued pursuant to the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 U.S.C. §4501 et seq.) (“DPA”), which allows the President to invoke special Federal Contracting powers to address shortages in medical resources needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EO specifically mentions personal protective equipment and ventilators as necessary to curb the spread of COVID-19, but also delegates authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) to identify additional necessary health and medical resources such as drugs, medical devices, health supplies, and health services and equipment. Continue Reading
The SEC has transitioned to a “full telework posture” in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States. However, the Commission is taking pains to assure market participants that it is still business as usual at the SEC. The Commission recently published the SEC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response on its website, which summarizes, among other things, market monitoring priorities, guidance and targeted assistance and relief, and investor protection efforts the SEC is undertaking in response to the Coronavirus. Continue Reading
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, FINRA has announced that most FINRA staff will be working remotely, but will utilize remote work capabilities to remain “fully operational.” FINRA has also published guidance on its website regarding narrow regulatory relief, business continuity, arbitration, mediation, and disciplinary hearings, membership applications, FINRA-administered exams, events, and investor strategy. Continue Reading