Summary of Bipartisan Agreement on Coronavirus AidMarch 26, 2020
The Latest on Federal Aid Amid COVID-19
On Thursday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a nearly $500 billion coronavirus rescue package that delivers emergency aid to small businesses and hospitals after two weeks of negotiations between party leaders and the White House.
The $484 billion package, including $321 billion to re-fuel the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has the support of President Trump and Speaker Pelosi and is expected to be enacted into law this week. The package also provides another $60 billion in economic disaster loans for small businesses, $75 billion in emergency relief for hospitals and $25 billion to ramp up coronavirus testing.
Of the $321 billion for the PPP, the majority is expected to go quickly, especially with all the unprocessed PPP loan applications in queue at banks across the country.
- $30 billion of this amount will be reserved for mid-size and smaller financial institutions, including credit unions.
- $30 billion of this amount will be reserved for small institutions, specifically focused on institutions with less than $10 million in assets, including Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFI).
- The Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program will receive an additional $60 billion. The backlog at SBA for unprocessed EIDL loans is unknown.
The White House and Congress have emphasized the importance of the PPP funds to flow to small businesses in need. Additionally, President Trump has called for large high-profile entities to return loans received during the first phase of the PPP. Secretary Mnuchin stated that additional guidance will be issued to clarify what is a “small business.”
The Chamber expects that loan applications already in process – but not finalized due to the funds running out in phase one of PPP – will be able to continue to be processed once this legislation is signed and enacted by President Trump. The Chamber recommends checking with your financial institution to ensure your previous applications are properly in queue.
The Chamber is also pleased that the Senate legislation includes $75 billion for America’s hospitals and an additional $25 billion to ramp up coronavirus testing– supporting our critical health care system experiencing unprecedented stress and our health care professionals who are the real heroes of this crisis.
The Chamber contacted every Michigan member of Congress to advocate for this additional Federal small business assistance, worked with our U.S. Chamber of Commerce partners to advocate in Congress for this package, and leveraged our CEO’s former role as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration for President Bush to push for Congressional action. Read more about this outreach.
ASSISTANCE FOR AMERICAN WORKERS AND FAMILIES
ASSISTANCE FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.
Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.
- For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE
- If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE
- If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE
- The application for borrowers can be found HERE
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan. View more.
PRESERVING JOBS FOR AMERICAN INDUSTRY
The IRS rolled out a refundable tax credit that is 50 percent of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. For answers to frequently asked questions, CLICK HERE.
PROCEDURES AND APPLICATIONS FOR TREASURY PROGRAMS
If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams. Please contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.
Fraud involving payment of Federal taxes should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
- Read the full Summary of Bipartisan Agreement on “CARES” Act.
- Bill text can be found here.
- A section-by-section summary released by the Senate can be found here.
- A summary of the appropriations provisions released by the Senate can be found here.
Contents of Summary:
- Small Business “Paycheck Protection Program”
- Additional Small Business Provisions
- Changes to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs)
- Loan Programs and Credit Facilities
- Business Tax Provisions
- Pension and Employee Benefit Requirements
- Banking Relief, Mortgage Forbearance, and Credit Reporting
- Payments & Relief for Individuals
- Unemployment Programs
- Work Sharing Programs
- Paid Leave Changes
- Health Care Provisions
- Student Loans
- Airline Industry Support
- State and Local Aid
Summary of PHASE III Coronavirus Relief as passed by the Senate
On March 25, the Senate passed the Phase III relief bill in a 96-0 vote. A summary can be found here.
The bill provides new small business loans with loan forgiveness provisions, a cash payment to certain individuals, expansions to the UI system including an extra $600 weekly benefit, and a $500 billion loan and credit facility among many, many other provisions that you will find in the summary. There were minimal changes to the paid sick and family leave provisions from the Phase II bill, which included capping the maximum amount of payments and clarifying that workers who are rehired are eligible for paid FMLA leave.
One item is worthy of clarification in the Phase III bill. There is a provision allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to set up a new middle market loan program for employers with between 500 and 10,000 employees. The exact language of the bill says that the Treasury Secretary “shall endeavor to seek the implementation” of such a program. This means it is optional on the part of the Treasury Secretary to set up, and even if it were to be set up no one need avail themselves of it. The reason the aspirational language with regard to the program is important is because a business taking a loan under this program, were it actually established, would be required to remain neutral in any union organizing campaign for the duration of the loan. In addition, businesses in this program would not be able to abrogate the terms of a collective bargaining agreement for the term of the loan plus two years. The bottom line is that while it would have been better if this language had not been included, it is may have less effect than what it would appear to have.
The bill now moves to the House with the expectation that it will pass quickly, and be signed by the President shortly thereafter.