04/14/2020 – Daily update from NAW Government Relations Team
1-NAW Calls on Congress to Pass Legislation for Increased Funding for Payroll Protection Program
Today, NAW called on Congressional Leaders to quickly pass legislation increasing funding for the small business Payroll Protection Program. The initial $349 billion allocated for this program will have been completely spent by the end of this week, and Congress needs to act quickly to replenish the fund in order to prevent thousands of additional Americans from losing their jobs.
Click here to read NAW’s letter.
2-Update on FMCSA Emergency Declaration
Late last week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended their emergency declaration (which NAW has previously reported on) through May 15th.
In conjunction with the extension of the emergency declaration, FMCSA released a new FAQ (frequently asked questions) to address many of the questions the agency has received specifically regarding actions State Drivers Licensing Agencies or commercial driver’s license holders may take during the current COVID-19 emergency.
You can view the FAQ here:
Additionally, you can view all of FMCSA’s COVID-19 related information, including updates on FMCSA’s Hours of Service National Emergency Declaration, by going here:
3-Congressional Action for Additional Coronavirus Relief Funding Might Come This Week
Last week, Senate Democrats blocked a critical vote that would have approved an additional $250 billion in new aid for the Paycheck Protection Program, which gives forgivable loans to small businesses. The Senate adjourned last Thursday without any deal to deliver new coronavirus relief funding.
Today, we are hearing reports that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer are closer to reaching a deal this week on an interim coronavirus relief bill. Democrats are seeking an additional $250 billion in funding for hospitals and local governments as well as increased food aid. These provisions are already included in the CARES Act, but the programs are struggling to getting set up and the funding has yet to be allocated.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is expected to announce this week that funding for the small-business Paycheck Protection Program needs to be replenished immediately, which will put pressure on Congressional Leaders in both parties to reach an agreement. On Monday, the SBA reported that about 904,000 applications were approved for a total of $221 billion; the fund has $350 billion total in it.
Leader McConnell has indicated that he may offer another unanimous consent agreement this Thursday to provide at least $250 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program. However, there is no indication that Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi will agree to a funding package that does not include their demands for $100 billion in additional funding for hospitals and $150 billion in additional funding for states.
Even if an agreement in the Senate can be reached and passed this week, one House Republican, Rep. Thomas Massie, says he will again try to force a roll-call vote on an interim package. If successful, this would force House lawmakers to return to Washington early to get the legislation through the House. Agreeing to an interim deal this week would spare lawmakers from having to come back next week to resume negotiations.
Yesterday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that, absent an emergency, the House would not return to Washington until at least the week of May 4th given the danger of the coronavirus, which has sent lawmakers in both chambers home. Additionally, Leader McConnell announced today that, absent an emergency, the full Senate is not expected to travel back to Washington sooner than May 4th and will convene in pro forma sessions only.
Both chambers further advised their Members that if they are required to take action on critical legislation related to the coronavirus, they would be given sufficient time to return to Washington, DC.
Further update on PPP:
The Department of the Treasury released an updated FAQ on the PPP program yesterday, which you can read here:
Now Available for Purchase On Demand: “Distribution Industry: Navigating the Crisis” with Alan Beaulieu: https://www.naw.org/navigating-the-crisis/
Jade West, Chief Government Relations Officer
Blake Adami, Vice President-Government Relations
Seth Waugh, Associate Vice President-Government Relations
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
The above information and links to other information has been prepared by NAW for the general information of NAW members. It is not intended to, and does not, provide tax, legal or professional advice concerning any specific matter. You should not act on the information without first obtaining professional advice and counsel.