Government Relations Update April 2020

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By Matthew Hall
Internet2 External Relations Program Manager

Internet2 and The Quilt Ask Congress to Consider R&E’s Role in the COVID-19 Crisis

On April 20, Internet2 and The Quilt sent a letter to House and Senate leadership highlighting how the work of the research and education (R&E) community and the networks that support it is more crucial now than ever during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.  Both organizations also cited several areas of opportunity for federal support to help the R&E community make even more of a difference.  

The letters lay out four specific suggestions for consideration in the next round of COVID-19 legislation.  These are:

  1. Support Public-Private Partnerships to Extend Backbone and Middle Mile Networks in Unserved and Underserved Areas
  2. Increase Pandemic Research Connectivity
  3. Expand Educational Wireless Systems and Wireless Services
  4. Support Equipment and Capacity Needs

While the current timeline for additional legislation remains unclear, leaders in the House, Senate, and Administration have all made clear that they believe additional action is required.

CARES Act Supplement Signed Into Law

After weeks of negotiation, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266).  The president signed the bill into law on April 24.  In total, the bill contains $484 billion of funding with the majority broken up into four priorities.  

  • $310 billion to replenish funding for the Small Business Administration’s popular Paycheck Protection Program
  • $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
  • $75 billion for hospitals and health-care providers
  • $25 billion for a new coronavirus testing program

Following the passage of this legislation, the Treasury Department issued additional guidance to assist those seeking relief funds from the Paycheck Protection Program.

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