Coronavirus Disease Response Measures in the Federal Government

Policy Details

Policy Details

Date of Last Action
Apr 21 2020
Date Introduced
Mar 24 2020
Publication Date
Mar 24 2020

SciPol Summary

Originating in China, the virus that causes COVID-19 has gone on to spread worldwide. While the first cases were reported in December, the World Health Organization ultimately declared the disease to be a pandemic on March 11. As this disease has emerged over the past few months, governments have moved to implement and combat both the spread of the virus and its social and economic impacts. This page provides a list of actions the US Federal government has taken in response to COVID-19. We will continue to update this as we identify new actions and provide brief summaries for each action.

 

Congress

Passed and Enacted Into Law

  • Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (Public Law 116-139) – Provides nearly $500 billion in funding to support the small business relief fund established by the CARES Act, disaster loans for small businesses, emergency relief for hospitals and increased coronavirus testing capabilities. Read the full SciPol Summary. 
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136) – Establishes and funds federal emergency assistance and healthcare programs to support individuals, families, and businesses in response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Introduced as Senate Amendment 1578 to amend HR 748. Read the full SciPol Summary.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Public Law 116-127) – Provides emergency funds to support the increased availability of nutrition programs, medical testing, paid leave, and tax breaks relating to the public health emergency designation of the COVID-19 outbreak. Introduced as HR 6201, 116th Congress. Read the full SciPol Summary.
  • Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (Public Law 116-123) – Provides $8.3 billion in additional, emergency government spending to accelerate response measures to the coronavirus disease. Introduced as HR 6074, 116th Congress. Read the full SciPol Summary.

Introduced

Please Note: A number of bills have been introduced in response to this pandemic. While many of these bills have not passed themselves, portions of their text have been included as sections of passed and enacted legislation. We will continue updating this list to provide brief summaries of each bill and attempt to identify bills that have been included in legislation that has passed Congress.

House
  • Emergency Response Coordinator Act of 2020 (HR 5997)
  • Cure the Coronavirus Act (HR 6019)
  • Border Health Security Act of 2020 (HR 6070)
  • Northern Mariana Islands Coronavirus Emergency Assistance Act (HR 6123)
  • COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020 (HR 6139)
  • Covering Coronavirus Test Act of 2020 (HR 6173) - Requires health insurers to cover the cost of COVID-19 testing without cost sharing.
  • Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students (MEALS) Act (HR 6187)
  • Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020 (HR 6198)
  • Pandemic EBT Act of 2020 (HR 6200)
  • Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 (HR 6202)
  • Assistance for Workers Harmed by COVID-19 Act (HR 6205)
  • Coronavirus Worker Relief Act (HR 6207)
  • To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of testing for COVID-19 at no cost sharing under the Medicare Advantage program (HR 6214)
  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (HR 6220)
  • Coronavirus Accounting Relief Act (HR 6249) 
  • Coronavirus Guidance for Financial Institutions Act (HR 6265)
  • COVID-19 Small Business Recovery Grants Act (HR 6292)
  • Interagency Council on Homelessness Coronavirus Guidance Act of 2020 (HR 6293)
  • Improving Emergency Disease Response via Housing Act of 2020 (HR 6294)
  • Protecting Our Elderly Residents Act of 2020 (HR 6295)
  • Informed Resident Notification Act of 2020 (HR 6297)
  • To require the Secretary of Defense to make testing for the coronavirus disease 19 available to all members of the Armed Forces deployed to an area in which the United States Central Command has responsibility (HR 6310)
  • Emergency Rental Assistance Act of 2020 (HR 6314)
  • COVID-19 National Service Response Act (HR 6315)
  • Too Small to Fail Act (HR 6324)
  • NETWORKS Act (HR 6235)
  • Rental Eviction Moratorium Act of 2020 (HR 6347)
  • Public Health Emergency Shelter Act of 2020 (HR 6362)
  • To increase the amount available under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to respond to the coronavirus epidemic, and for other purposes (HR 6373)
  • To suspend requirements that tenants of assisted housing make contributions toward rent during the public health emergency relating to coronavirus, and for other purposes (HR 6374)
  • Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act (HR 6379) - Provides emergency funding for some federal agencies and programs to address the COVID-19 health emergency.
Senate 
  • Global Health Security Act of 2020 (S 3302)
  • Coronavirus Vaccine Act (S 3370)
  • Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act (S 3415)
  • Resilient Elections During Quarantines and Natural Disasters Act of 2020 (S 3440)
  • Care for COVID-19 Act (S 3442)
  • A bill to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to treat certain programs of education converted to distance learning by reason of emergencies and health-related situations in the same manner as programs of education pursued at educational institutions, and for other purposes (S 3450) – Enables the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue providing educational assistance for programs that have changed from in-person to remote instruction as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • A bill to provide for unemployment benefits to workers affected by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (S 3476) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide unemployment assistance to individuals affected by COVID-19, and for other purposes (S 3497) – No text available yet
  • A bill to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to reimburse States for the cost of operating drive-through sites for COVID-19 testing (S 3498) – No text available yet
  • Free COVID-19 Testing Act (S 3499) – No text available yet
  • A bill to require private health insurance to rapidly cover preventive services and vaccines related to the coronavirus. (S 3505) – No text available yet
  • A bill to require the Secretary of Defense to make testing for the coronavirus disease 19 available to all members of the Armed Forces deployed to an area in which the United States Central Command has responsibility. (S 3507) – No text available yet
  • A bill to transfer all border wall funding to the Department of Health and Human Services and USAID to combat coronavirus. (S 3510) – No text available yet
  • A bill to increase the ability of nursing facilities to access to telehealth services and obtain technologies to allow virtual visits during the public health emergency relating to an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and for other purposes. (S 3517) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide grants to small business concerns, private nonprofit organizations, and small agricultural cooperatives affected by COVID-19, and for other purposes (S 3518) – No text available yet
  • A bill to extend and expand the temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) program and related programs to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and for other purposes (S 3522) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide for the temporary funding of the expansion of eligibility of unemployment compensation to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency, and for other purposes (S 3523) – No text available yet
  • A bill to modify terms related to the economic injury disaster loan program of the Small Business Administration for applicants affected by COVID-19, and for other purposes (S 3524) – No text available yet
  • A bill to allow a tax credit for certain coronavirus-related charitable contributions for taxable year 2020. (S 3525) – No text available yet
  • A bill to restrict the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase or guarantee assets in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. (S 3526) – No text available yet
  • A bill to modify requirements relating to small business disaster loans made in response to COVID-19, and for other purposes (S 3541) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide COVID-19 related assistance through a special earned income rule for purposes of the refundable child and earned income credits for taxable year 2020 (S 3542) – No text available yet
  • A bill to assist older Americans and people with disabilities affected by COVID-19 (S 3544) – No text available yet
  • A bill to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to waive limitations on expansion of facility capacity under rural provider and hospital exception to ownership or investment prohibition during coronavirus 2020 emergency period (S 3547) – No text available yet
  • A bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to provide payments to cattle producers to offset losses due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and for other purposes. (S 3552) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19, and for other purposes (S 3554) – No text available yet
  • A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide for deferral of loan repayment for graduates during the period of the coronavirus (S 3556) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide emergency financial assistance to rural health care facilities and providers impacted by the COVID-19 emergency (S 3559) – No text available yet
  • A bill to require Federal agencies to permit employees to telework full-time during the public health emergency relating to COVID-19, and for other purposes (S 3561) – No text available yet
  • A bill to modify nutrition programs to address the Coronavirus Disease 2019, and for other purposes. (S 3563) – No text available yet
  • A bill to amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to require States to provide medical assistance for COVID-19 treatment services for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, and for other purposes (S 3564) – No text available yet
  • A bill to prohibit depository institutions from assessing overdraft and non-sufficient fund fees during the novel coronavirus crisis and other disasters, and for other purposes (S 3566) – No text available yet
  • A bill to require the President to use authorities under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to require emergency production of medical equipment to address the COVID-19 outbreak (S 3568) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide for the expedited procurement of equipment needed to combat COVID-19 under the Defense Production Act of 1950 (S 3570) – No text available yet
  • A bill to provide oversight for the care and assistance provided to businesses under the coronavirus relief package (S 3578) – No text available yet

 

Office of the President

Executive Orders

  • Prioritizing and Allocating Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19 (EO 13909) – Gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to determine the nationwide priorities for health and medical resources and redirect their distribution as needed.

Presidential Proclamations

  • Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus and Other Appropriate Measures To Address This Risk (Proclamation 9984) – Limits entry into the United States for people who had been to China within fourteen days of their attempt to enter the United States.
  • Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Proclamation 9992) – Expands travel restrictions of Proclamation 9984 to include people who had been in Iran within fourteen days of attempting to enter the United States.
  • Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Proclamation 9993) – Further expands COVID-19 related travel restrictions to include people who had been in the Schengen Area (the European Union member States that cooperate as a single travel jurisdiction) within fourteen days prior to attempting to enter the United States.
  • Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak (Proclamation 9994) – Authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to temporarily waive or modify certain aspects of the Medicare, Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance programs, as well as the privacy rule of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, to address the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus (Proclamation 9996) – Expands travel COVID-19 travel restrictions to include people who had been in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland within fourteen days of attempting to enter the United States.

Memoranda

  • Expanding State Diagnostic Tests (March 13 Memo) – Informs States that they can request flexibility for authorizing laboratories to develop and perform tests for detecting COVID-19 and that the Secretary of the Food and Drug Administration will facilitate those requests.
  • Making General Use Respirators Available (March 11 Memo) – Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to allow healthcare personnel to use general-use respirators during the health emergency and to increase the availability of respirators.

 

Federal Agencies

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  • No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation (Order, March 14)
    • Prohibits commercial cruise ship companies under the jurisdiction ofthe United States from operating cruises or related operations during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • The Order was renewed on April 15 and lasts through July 24 unless further modified or the COVID-19 public health emergency ends prior to that date. The renewed order requires cruise companies who are conducting any operations to establish and implement robust COVID-19 response plans that must be approved by CDC and the US Coast Guard.
  • Interim Guidance for Implementing Safety Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 (Guidance)
    • Advises the continued work of critical infrastructure workers who may have been exposed to COVID-19.
    • Provides guidelines for employers regarding screening employees who have potentially been exposed and responding to changes in employee health.
  • Suspending Introduction of Persons From a Country Where a Communicable Disease Exists (Order) 
    • Limits, as enforced by Homeland Security, foreign nationals from countries with COVID-19 cases from entering the United States.
  • Control of Communicable Diseases; Foreign Quarantine: Suspension of Introduction of Persons Into United States From Designated Foreign Countries or Places for Public Health Purposes (Rule)
    •  Outlines the regulatory authority and provides procedures for the CDC to restrict entry into the United States for individuals travelling from countries with COVID-19 cases.
  • Collection of Certain Data Regarding Passengers and Crew Arriving From Foreign Countries by Airlines (Order)
    • Requires airlines carrying passengers from China to collect and provide passenger information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read the full SciPol Summary.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Emergency Use Authorization Declarations
  • Emergency Use Authorization Declaration for Medical Devices (Notice, March 24)
    • Establishes a period of allowing the emergency use (i.e., use prior to obtaining formal FDA approval) of medical devices and products used as medical devices intended to address the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • Specific medical devices must still receive an Emergency Use Authorization from FDA under this declaration before they can be used.
  • Emergency Use Authorization Declaration for Drugs and Biological Products (Notice​March 27)
    • Establishes a period of allowing the emergency use (i.e., use prior to obtaining formal FDA approval) of drugs and biological products intended to address the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • Specific drugs and biological products must still receive an Emergency Use Authorization from FDA under this declaration before they can be used.
Emergency Use Authorizations — Medical Devices
  • Blood Purification Device to Treat COVID-19 (Letter of Authorization, April 9)
  • Decontaminate N95 Respirators (Letter of Authorization, April 9)
  • Non-NIOSH-Approved Disposable Filtering Facepiece Respirators Manufactured in China (Letter of Authorization, April 3)
  • Battelle Decontamination System (Letter of Authorization, March 29)
  • NIOSH-Approved Air Purifying Respirators for Use in Health Care Settings During Response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Letter of Authorization, March 28)
  • Imported, Non-NIOSH-Approved Disposable Filtering Facepiece Respirators (Letter of Authorization, March 28)
  • Ventilators, Devices Modified for Use as Ventilators, Ventilator Tubing Connectors, and Ventilator Accessories (Letter of Authorization, March 24)
  • In Vitro Diagnostics for Detection and/or Diagnosis of the Novel Coronavirus 
    • As of April 3, 2020, FDA has granted 28 emergency use authorizations for these tests; view FDA's full list.
Emergency Use Authorizations — Drugs and Biological Products
  • Chloroquine Phosphate or Hydroxychloroquine Sulfate Supplied From the Strategic National Stockpile for Treatment of 2019 Coronavirus Disease (Letter of Authorization, March 28)
Guidance Documents
  • Enforcement Policy for Digital Health Devices For Treating Psychiatric Disorders During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 14)
  • FDA Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (Guidance, April 13)
  • Temporary Policy Regarding NonStandard PPE Practices for Sterile Compounding by Pharmacy Compounders not Registered as Outsourcing Facilities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 10)
  • Policy for the Temporary Use of Portable Cryogenic Containers Not in Compliance With 21 CFR 211.94(e)(1) For Oxygen and Nitrogen During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Guidance for Industry (Guidance)
  • FDA Investigational COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma (Guidance, April 9)
  • Enforcement Policy for Remote Ophthalmic Assessment and Monitoring Devices During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 6)
  • Enforcement Policy for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation and Cardiopulmonary Bypass Devices During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 6)
  • Temporary Policy Regarding Enforcement of 21 CFR Part 118 (the Egg Safety Rule) During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 6)
  • Enforcement Policy for Infusion Pumps and Accessories During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 5)
  • Enforcement Policy for Clinical Electronic Thermometers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 4)
  • Conduct and Review of Studies to Support New Animal Drug Development during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 3)
  • Temporary Policy Regarding Packaging and Labeling of Shell Eggs Sold by Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 3)
  • Alternative Procedures for Blood and Blood Components During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 2)
  • Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products (Guidance, April 2)
  • Revised Recommendations to Reduce the Risk of Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria (Guidance, April 2)
  • Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Chain Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, April 1)
  • Enforcement Policy for Gowns, Other Apparel, and Gloves During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 30)
  • Enforcement Policy for Sterilizers, Disinfectant Devices, and Air Purifiers During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 29)
  • Permanent Discontinuance or Interruption in Manufacturing Under Section 506C of the FD&C Act (Guidance, March 27)
  • Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Certain Packaged Food During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 26)
  • Enforcement Policy for Face Masks and Respirators During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 25, revised April 2)
  • Temporary Policy for Manufacture of Alcohol for Incorporation Into Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19)​ (Guidance, March 24)
  • Enforcement Policy Regarding Federal VCPR Requirements to Facilitate Veterinary Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Outbreak (Guidance, March 24)
  • Enforcement Policy for Ventilators and Accessories and Other Respiratory Devices During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 22)
  • Policy for Certain REMS Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Guidance for Industry and Health Care Professionals (Guidance, March 22)
  • Enforcement Policy for Non-Invasive Remote Monitoring Devices Used to Support Patient Monitoring During the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 20)
    • Describes the FDA policy for expanding the availability of non-invasive remote monitoring devices for the duration of this public health emergency to improve patient monitoring.
  • Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19) (Guidance, March 19) 
  • Postmarketing Adverse Event Reporting for Medical Products and Dietary Supplements During a Pandemic (Guidance, March 19)
  • Conduct of Clinical Trials of Medical Products during COVID-19 Pandemic (Guidance, March 18, revised April 16)
  • Temporary Policy Regarding Preventive Controls and FSVP Food Supplier Verification Onsite Audit Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 17) 
  • Policy for Diagnostics Tests for Coronavirus Disease-2019 During the Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 16)
    • Describes the FDA policy towards the use of COVID-19 tests that have been developed and validated in laboratories but have not received emergency use authorization.
  • Policy for Temporary Compounding of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (Guidance, March 14)
    • Describes the FDA policy for allowing pharmacists to prepare hand sanitizers for customers and healthcare personnel to address shortages that have occurred due to the public health emergency. 

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • Enforcement Discretion Under HIPAA To Allow Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information by Business Associates for Public Health and Health Oversight Activities in Response to COVID-19 (Notification, April 7)
  • Declaration Under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act for Medical Countermeasures Against COVID-19 (Declaration, Febuary 4)
    • Invokes provisions of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedeness Act to provide immunity to legal liability for healthcare providers who administer or indivduals who manufacture or distribute drugs, biological products, and medical devices authorized for investigational or emergency use in response to the COVID-19 health emergency.
    • This declaration was amended on March 27 to allow for similar legal liability immunity for the distribution or use of respiratory protective devices approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for priority use during a public health emergency.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Emergency Measures To Address Fishery Observer Coverage During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (Temporary Rule, March 24) 

Office of Civil Rights (OCR), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • Enforcement Discretion Under HIPAA To Allow Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information by Business Associates for Public Health and Health Oversight Activities in Response to COVID-19 (Notification, April 7)

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

  • Relief for Form ID Filers and Regulation Crowdfunding and Regulation A Issuers Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (Temporary Final Rule, March 30)

Small Business Administration (SBA)

  • Paycheck Protection Program (Interim Final Rule, April 15)
    • Implements sections 1102 and 1106 of the CARES Act (Public Law 116-136) to establish the Paycheck Protection Program to provide small businesses with economic support to continue to pay employees during the COVID-19 health emergency.
    • A separate interim final rule provides additional guidance around the main interim final rule regarding affiliated small business interests.

US Coast Guard

  • Safety Zone; COVID-19 NorCal Maritime 2020, San Francisco Bay, CA (Temporary Rule) – Establishes a safe zone around the Grand Princess cruise ship in the San Francisco Bay in response to passengers testing positive for COVID-19.

 

National Academies

SciPol Summary authored by