03/26/2020 – Daily update from NAW Government Relations Team
1-Update on COVID-19 Emergency Stimulus Bill
Policy analysts in Washington continue to digest and analyze the 880-page COVID rescue package, but until the bill is passed by the House and signed by the President, none of the Federal agencies involved can begin providing guidance to business on how to access the new programs. The House is expected to vote tomorrow not by unanimous consent as was previously hoped, but by voice vote. Neither procedure requires all Members of the House be present, but a voice vote is a less certain procedural outcome as only a handful of Members can gum up the works.
As of this writing, the Speaker and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy are both supporting the legislation and working their Party caucuses to ensure passage. But one Representative, Republican Tom Massie of Kentucky, has announced opposition to the bill and raised the question of whether a quorum will actually be present to vote tomorrow. If he chooses to press the issue, he might be able to force the Speaker and Republican Leader to ask enough of their colleagues to return to DC to ensure a quorum. That action would not keep the bill from passing but would simply delay the vote until more Members get back to DC. Since all he could accomplish is a delay in the vote, in addition to infuriating his colleagues by putting them at greater health risk by forcing them to travel and convene in the Capitol, the odds are he will be persuaded to allow the vote to occur as planned tomorrow.
In a Politico story earlier today Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said that he and other Cabinet Secretaries have been told by the President to move “at breakneck speed” to implement the provisions of the rescue package. I’ve included that article below in this email.
We will of course get information out to you as quickly as we can get it on the agency guidance.
In the interim, Deloitte prepared a detailed summary of the bill which is a good reference document.
Click here to read their summary.
Mnuchin: We want ‘money in people’s pocket immediately’
By Toby Eckert
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin today said President Donald Trump has directed his Cabinet secretaries to work at break-neck speed to implement coronavirus legislation moving through Congress, including stimulus payments to individuals and families.
Mnuchin told CNBC the money would start going out “within three weeks.”
“We are determined to get money in people’s pocket immediately,” he said.
That would be a much faster start than the last time the government provided such payments, during the economic downturn in 2008. Then, it took the IRS two months to issue its first payments.
“The president has made clear to every single Cabinet secretary that has a responsibility, this is about, in capital words, fast,” Mnuchin said, “that getting money or getting action three or four months from now doesn’t do anybody any good.” Most people will get their payments by direct deposit to their bank accounts, he said, which was less of an option in 2008.
A Senate Finance Committee aide said Wednesday that the IRS is considering making some other payments “through debit cards or other medium” for people who don’t have direct deposit.
The coronavirus relief package the Senate passed overnight would send millions of Americans payments of up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. The legislation now moves to the House for final consideration.
2-Additional Guidance on Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Under FFCRA
Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced more guidance to provide information to workers and employers about how each will be able to take advantage of the protections and relief offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.
The new guidance includes two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law. It also includes questions and answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy. The new guidance addresses critical issues such as whether employers may post required notice electronically, whether employers must provide notice of this law to recently laid-off individuals, when FFCRA applies to federal workers and when enforcement of the new rules will begin.
The guidance announced today augments information WHD published yesterday, including a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document. Additional guidance is forthcoming.
WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19 and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
For more information about the laws enforced by the WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit:
If you or your organization is interested in helping the effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, FEMA has established a website (www.fema.gov/coronavirus/how-to-help) with more information. Examples for the private sector include:
- To sell medical supplies or equipment to the federal government, please email specifics to email@example.com.
- If you have medical supplies or equipment to donate, please provide us details on what you are offering.
- If you are a private company that wants to produce a product related to the COVID response – email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you are a hospital and other companies in need of medical supplies, contact your state Department of Public Health and/or Emergency Management.
- For non-medical supplies, services or equipment, if you are interested in doing business with FEMA, visit our Industry Liaison Program.
For additional information please visit FEMA’s website:
Jade West, Chief Government Relations Officer
Blake Adami, Vice President-Government Relations
Seth Waugh, Associate Vice President-Government Relations
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