Update on coronavirus response stimulus from Capitol Hill
Details were scarce given the fast pace of events, but the Senate and the Administration appeared to have reached agreement early Wednesday on a $2 trillion stimulus package as the third package of legislation in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Initial indications from the House were positive, but as the day progressed, some critics emerged on both the left and the right. The Senate could vote as early as tonight and, if the bill were to pass, the House might try to pass it by unanimous consent as early as Thursday.
Reportedly, the unprecedentedly massive bill would send $1,200 checks to many Americans, create a $367 billion loan program for small businesses, and establish a $500 billion lending fund for industries, cities and states with independent oversight. The legislation is reported to bar loans to firms controlled by President Trump, other White House officials or members of Congress. Other provisions include $150 billion for state and local emergency aid, $130 billion for hospitals and a significant boost in unemployment insurance benefits, expanding eligibility and offering workers an additional $600 a week for four months, on top of what state unemployment programs pay.
“Based on reports, this appears to be a good start for businesses of all sizes, their employees and all stakeholders,” said David Levine, ASBC co-founder and President. “We applaud the efforts of Members of Congress who pushed for the financial support needed to avoid the worst possible economic effects of the public health crisis.
“The scale of the risks is enormous. We are glad that the scale of the proposed response matches it,” Levine added. “The speed of the pandemic requires a speedy response, but it is likely that further steps will be necessary.”
Update on emergency sick and family leave from Treasury and Labor
Under new guidance, eligible employers who pay qualifying sick or childcare leave will be able to retain an amount of the payroll taxes equal to the amount of qualifying sick and child care leave that they paid, rather than deposit them with the IRS.
The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes and the employee and employer shares of Social Security and Medicare taxes. If there are not sufficient payroll taxes to cover the cost of qualified sick and child care leave paid, employers will be able file a request for an accelerated payment from the IRS. The IRS expects to process these requests in two weeks or less. The details of this new, expedited procedure will be announced next week.
Invitation to Live Web Event With SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza will hold a live web event on COVID-19’s economic impacts and the SBA’s targeted relief efforts for the nation's small businesses. Administrator Carranza and officials from the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will discuss the economic relief efforts underway and resources available to small business owners.
Labor Department hosting national online dialogue on implement Families First Coronavirus Response Act
U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. Input is needed by March 29, 2020. Anybody who is interested can participate online at https://ffcra.ideascale.com from March 23 through March 29, 2020.
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