Latest on the Next Congressional Pandemic Relief Package
As of today, there is still no agreement over a next round of COVID-19 relief funding. House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin continue to talk as they attempt to bridge the gap between the Democrat’s $2.2 trillion proposal and the Administration’s $1.8 trillion counteroffer. However, President Trump said yesterday that he’d support a virus relief package bigger than the $1.8 trillion plan his administration has offered, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected that idea, again calling for passage of an aid package of no more than $500 billion.
NAW continues to work with our trade association allies for passage of a new relief measure that includes liability protection, protects the business tax credits included in the CARES bill, and restarts and/or expands the PPP. In a letter to her Democrat colleagues last night, House Speaker Pelosi reassured them that a COVID-19 agreement could be reached soon and that the package would “be safer, bigger and better, and it will be retroactive.”
Senate Leader McConnell announced that when the Senate returns next week, they will vote on new funding for the Payment Protection Program. The bill would also include more money for testing, hospitals, and protections for businesses from coronavirus-related lawsuits. In his statement, Leader McConnell said, “When the full Senate returns on October 19th, our first order of business will be voting again on targeted relief for American workers, including new funding for the PPP. Unless Democrats block this aid for workers, we will have time to pass it before we proceed as planned to the pending Supreme Court nomination as soon as it is reported by the Judiciary Committee.”
If a deal doesn’t come together in the next few weeks, it’s unlikely another aid package will get done before the current 116th Congress ends in early January. Although some lawmakers believe something could get done in the lame-duck session along with a government funding package, the more likely scenario is that additional coronavirus aid gets pushed off until the 117th Congress.
Democrats believe they can get a better deal in January or February if former Vice President Joe Biden beats President Trump, but most don’t want to wait that long.
The House is not scheduled to be back in session until after the November election, however, House Majority Leader Hoyer has advised his members that they may still be called back this month if a deal comes together at the last minute.
Latest on Paycheck Protection Program
Last week, the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department announced a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This simplified process obviously applies only to the smallest of PPP loans, and NAW continues to work with our trade association colleagues to push for more efficient action from the SBA on forgiveness of larger loans, and to push Congress to address the issue of tax deductibility of business expenses paid for with a forgiven PPP loan.
The simplified form released last Thursday cuts the application’s size down from five pages to two and removes most of the questions aimed at ensuring that the loans were used for the program’s intended purposes of supporting payrolls and covering other fixed costs.
According to the press release, the SBA and Treasury have also eased the burden on PPP lenders, allowing lenders to process forgiveness applications more swiftly. SBA began approving PPP forgiveness applications and remitting forgiveness payments to PPP lenders for PPP borrowers on October 2, 2020. SBA will continue to process all PPP forgiveness applications in an expeditious manner.
Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.
Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.
Click here to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.
Latest on the Main Street Lending Program
We have heard little from NAW members about the MSLP recently, and when Fed officials testified before a Congressional Committee last month about the program, it was clear that very few loans had been completed and many banks had declined to participate in the program.
But the Boston Fed is moving forward, and “is conducting a webinar designed to help borrowers learn about the Main Street Lending Program.” If you are interested, the webinar will be conducted next Wednesday, October 21st, and you can register for it HERE.
The Boston Fed also has a series of FAQs on the program, which you can access HERE.
Latest on Economic Recovery and Re-Opening the Workplace
As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to impact the United States economy and businesses across the nation, it can be hard to decipher how new regulations and laws may impact your business. To help you manage these issues NAW is providing information about reports, webinars and seminars that you may find useful:
From Littler Law Firm:
Considering the Michigan Supreme Court’s March 2, 2020 order nullifying over 100 of the governor’s COVID-19 executive orders, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services continues to issue health-related orders to protect Michigan residents.
From Littler Law Firm:
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries recently made permanent a previously issued temporary rule expanding the Oregon Family Leave Act to include the need to care for a child whose school or childcare provider has closed.
From Littler Law Firm:
Beginning November 2, 2020, Wisconsin employers will be required to notify workers at separation about the availability of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits pursuant to an emergency rule recently issued by the Department of Workforce Development.
Stateside Associates publishes a daily report about State and Local Government responses to the evolving situation. To read their latest report, click HERE.
We are also providing a link to a spreadsheet that includes state and local COVID-19 response information provided by MultiState Associates. To view their spreadsheet, click HERE.
Jade West, Chief Government Relations Officer
Blake Adami, Vice President-Government Relations
Seth Waugh, Associate Vice President-Government Relations
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
The above information and links to other information has been prepared by NAW for the general information of NAW members. It is not intended to, and does not, provide tax, legal or professional advice concerning any specific matter. You should not act on the information without first obtaining professional advice and counsel.