EXPLOITING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – Dismantling of EPA Regulations
Even as scientists suggest that “risks of pandemics are growing” due to the rising temperatures of the #ClimateCrisis, the Trump Administration appears to be exploiting the fear generated by the coronavirus by expanding its rollback of regulations critical to health, safety and an equitable economy.
In the most stunning example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping suspension of its enforcement of environmental laws Thursday, telling companies they would not need to meet environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak.
The EPA said the policy was temporary, but it has set no end date for this extreme step. The new policy would allow companies to completely ignore environmental laws, and the agency says it will not “seek penalties for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations.”
These diminished compliance requirements for industry, which EPA says are necessary due to the health and economic crisis, comes as EPA has refused to budge on deadlines for comments as they proceed with a number of deregulatory actions. Environmental and public health groups contend that many science and health experts who want to weigh in on EPA rollbacks have been understandably diverted into dealing with the coronavirus and don’t have time to meet EPA review deadlines.
HOUSE EXPECTED TO VOTE TODAY - Stimulus
The $2 trillion stimulus package passed by the Senate on Wednesday is expected to come up for a vote today in the U.S. House, although there were some potential procedural snags that could delay the vote into the weekend. However, only the timing seems uncertain, as both the Speaker and the Minority Leader have expressed support and confidence in passage.
Major components of the package include:
Direct aid to taxpayers:
$1,200 to millions of Americans, including individuals earning up to $75,000 or couples filing jointly earning up to $150,000.
additional $500 per child.
Small Business Rescue Plan ($377 Billion):
This bill offers $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses to keep their existing workforce and help pay for things like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
It provides $10 billion in emergency grants to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
Government Loan Fund ($500 Billion):
for distressed companies reeling from the impact of the crisis, including allowing the administration the ability to take equity stakes in airlines that received aid to help compensate taxpayers.
restrictions include no stock buy backs, no increases to executive compensation, protection of bargaining rights, and prohibition on any Trump Organization business or any business controlled by other government leaders, including members of Congress, from receiving a loan from this bill.
Public Health ($150 Billion):
includes a new $100 billion fund available to all healthcare providers – hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and all types of Medicaid providers and safety net providers.
includes funding for personal protective equipment, testing supplies, a surge in our healthcare workforce, additional Medicare funding, research into Coronavirus treatments and more.
Unemployment Insurance ($260 Billion):
increases the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week and ensures that laid-off workers, on average, will receive their full pay for four months. These benefits will be much easier to access and will be expanded to include part-time, self-employed, and gig-economy workers.
Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments ($150 Billion):
State and local governments will now get $150 billion, with $8 billion set aside for tribal governments.
This relief is desperately needed because state revenues have dried up almost overnight, leaving them with untenable choices about how to allocate their health care and other resources.
A breakdown of the amount of relief each state will receive is here.
During the COVID-19 crisis, ASBC is continuing to advocate for key polices, particularly those aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises. To help us do that better, we are offering this brief, 10-question survey to collect some basic information about your business needs.
The survey is completely confidential and no responses will be attributed. We will be aggregating all the responses to help us make the most compelling arguments for appropriate solutions with policy makers at the federal, state and local levels.
Thank you for your response.
American Sustainable Business Council 1140 3rd Street, NE, Floor 2, Washington, District of Columbia 20002 202-660-1455 firstname.lastname@example.org