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September 8, 2020Client Alert

Senate GOP Unveils "Targeted" COVID-19 Relief Package

Today, Senate Republicans unveiled their proposed $500 billion "targeted" COVID-19 relief package. The "targeted" bill also known as the Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act, comes as lawmakers in the Senate returned to Washington after their summer recess. This proposal is the product of discussion with the White House as well.

The bill which will likely be brought up for a vote this week, likely Thursday, may be passed on a party line vote but is widely considered a marker bill that would form the basis for further negotiation with the Democrats in the House.

The Act includes the following:

Small Business Programs

  • $257 billion for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program, with reforms to require new applications show revenue loss and maintain loan documents consistent with IRS requirements. Provides additional resources for audits.
  • Allow small businesses (including self-employed individuals, sole-proprietors, and independent contractors) that (1) meet the SBA’s revenue size standard, if applicable; (2) have 300 or fewer employees; and (3) demonstrate at least a 35 percent reduction in gross revenue in a 2020 quarter relative to the same 2019 quarter to receive a second PPP loan.
  • Second PPP loans will be equal to 2.5X average monthly payroll costs, with a maximum loan value of $2 million. The uses of these loans will be subject to existing regulations implemented by the SBA and Treasury, with eligible uses expanded to cover certain worker protective, supplier, and operational expenses.
  • Simplifies the forgiveness application process for current and future PPP borrowers receiving loans of under $150,000 or less. Includes reforms to require new applications show revenue loss and retain business documents. Provides $50 million in additional resources for audits using existing PPP funding.

Liability Relief

  • Enact liability protections for businesses through the "Safe to Work Act." Which raises the bar for hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, and small and large businesses to face coronavirus-related lawsuits.

Coronavirus Relief Funds Extension

  • Extend the deadline to September 2021 for states to use $150 billion in federal assistance granted under the Cares Act in March without increasing flexibility or attaching new funds. Many states already allocated their money to prop up their public health response.

Pandemic Preparation And Strategic Stockpiles

  • Authorizes improvements and supports for sustained on-shore manufacturing surge capacity and capabilities to produce needed medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and therapeutics, to respond to public health threats like COVID-19.
  • Authorizes grants for the establishment of state stockpiles of medical products and supplies needed during a public health emergency.
  • Makes improvements to the Strategic National Stockpile by encouraging partnerships with those in the medical product supply chain to increase manufacturing and stockpiling capacity.

Education Support

  • $105 billion through an Education Stabilization Fund to help get students back to school and provide for the continued learning of all students in elementary and secondary education and higher education.

Agriculture

  • $20 billion of additional farm assistance. Dairy, poultry, livestock, specialty, and non-specialty crop producers are among the farmers and ranchers who stand to benefit from the extra assistance.
  • $500 million to direct federal assistance to all manner of fishers, fishery participants, and communities that have been affected by the coronavirus.

Charitable Giving

  • The CARES Act included a new $300 above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions that taxpayers can claim for 2020. The provision increases the amount to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for those filing a joint return.

Unemployment Insurance

  • The measure would restore some of the extra unemployment benefits that expired in July. Weekly supplemental unemployment aid would resume at $300, down from $600 in the CARES Act approved in spring. The legislation doesn’t include a second round of $1,200 payments for lower- and middle-income individuals.

Minerals

  • Reduce liabilities for businesses stemming from the pandemic as well as provisions meant to boost rare earth minerals mining in the U.S.

Additional Emergency Appropriations For Coronavirus Health Response

  • $31 billion for vaccine, therapeutic and diagnostic development; vaccine distribution; the Strategic National Stockpile and grants for the establishment of state stockpiles.
  • Provides $16 billion for testing, contact tracing and surveillance in states. Requires additional reporting by states to improve accountability over these federal funds.
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