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Federal COVID-19 Relief

DTA COVID-19 Update

Senate Republicans Propose $1 Trillion Package of COVID-19 Relief

(Updated July 28, 2020) On July 27, 2020, Senate Republicans unveiled their plan Monday for a roughly $1 trillion coronavirus aid package. Negotiations with Senator Democrats are underway in the hope of enacting something President Trump can sign into law to rush aid to many sectors of the economy.

Significant elements of the package include:

Unemployment Benefits

The current $600 weekly federal benefit is scheduled to expire at the end of this week. Republicans would extend benefits of $200 a week through September. Beginning in October, benefits would be calculated for each jobless worker so that his or her combined state and federal benefits would amount to 70 percent of lost wages. The federal benefit would be capped at $500 a week.

Paycheck Protection Program

Small businesses could apply for a second round of forgivable loans aimed at keeping their workers on the job during the pandemic. About $190 billion would be available for loans, including previously appropriated funds that have yet to be spent. Companies seeking a second loan would be required to have fewer than 300 workers and show a drop in revenue of at least 50 percent.

Liability Protection

Employers who open their businesses during the pandemic would be shielded from coronavirus-related medical claims through Oct. 1, 2024, if they make “reasonable efforts” to comply with public health guidelines and don’t engage in willful misconduct or grossly negligent behavior.

Manufacturing Capacity for Public Health Emergencies

The proposal seeks to improve and support sustained domestic manufacturing surge capacity and capabilities to produce needed medical countermeasures, such as vaccines and therapeutics, to respond to public health threats like COVID-19.

State and National Stockpile

The proposal establishes state stockpiles of medical products and supplies needed during a public health emergency, such as personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other medical products. It requires states to submit a stockpiling plan to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for maintaining the state stockpile, and coordinate with the state and relevant state preparedness plans.

It would also Improve the Strategic National Stockpile by partnering with medical product manufacturers, distributors, or other entities to increase the stockpiling and manufacturing capacity of reserve amounts of medical products to be provided during or in advance of a public health emergency.

Tax Rebates

Most Americans would get a second direct cash payment of up to $1,200 per adult, with the amount beginning to phase out when annual incomes exceed about $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for married couples. It would also provide $500 per dependent of any age.

Enhanced Hiring and Retention Payroll Tax Credits

A refundable tax credit to encourage employers to hire and retain workers during the pandemic would be increased from 50 percent of eligible wages to 65 percent. The draft bill would allow recipients of SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans to also take advantage of these tax credits.

Workplace Tax Credit

Employers would get a payroll tax credit to cover 50 percent of the cost of a worker’s virus protection expenses, such as testing, personal protective equipment, and workplace remodeling.

Appropriations

Federal agencies would get $306 billion in emergency funding, with the most significant single bulk of the money — $118.4 billion — going to the Department of Health and Human Services for vaccine research, testing, and other medical needs.

Democrat Views

Democrats are sure to seek changes to the Senate Republican proposal concerning unemployment compensation, support for state and local governments, and support for frontline workers.

DTA will continue to monitor these negotiations and provide timely updates to members.