Legislative Update with Jay Kruse
by Jay Kruse
Chief Advocacy Officer
7/29/2020

Good Morning!

 

Monday afternoon, Senate Republicans released their highly anticipated next version of coronavirus relief legislation entitle the HEALS Act. HEALS stands for Health, Economic Assistance, Liability protection, and Schools. This $1 trillion GOP bill is the alternative to the $3 trillion HEROES Act in the House, which passed back in May. Parties have now begun negotiations to close the considerable funding gap between the two proposals.

 

The HEALS Act includes school funding, some state and local funding, a second round of stimulus checks similar to those from the CARES Act, along with another round of PPP funding.  Federal unemployment benefits would be extended, but at an additional $200 per week rather than the $600 that the CARES Act offered and the HEROES Act current proposes. Liability protections would also be included for everyone, with the hope that these protections will encourage businesses to reopen without fear that they could spend years in court tied up in COVID related litigation.

 

PPP Details and Forgiveness

 

The entire GOP package in its entirety has not been made public quite yet. But, based on my discussions with some congressional offices yesterday, it is being speculated that the next round of PPP funding would be available to new borrows that haven’t participated in PPP up to this point, and as a second round for small business hit hardest by the pandemic. We will wait to hear from the SBA and Treasury to confirm the details and eligibility requirements to determine who will actually have access to these funds.

 

We are disappointed to hear Sen. Cramer’s (R-ND) Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act, S.4117, has not been included in the HEALS Act. Support for the bill is growing, over the last week sponsors have continued to seek out and pitch more potential co-sponsors. Along with CUNA, we strongly support both House and Senate PPP forgiveness bills, which would, among other things, provide for simple forgiveness of PPP loans under $150,000. As a compromise, we may see the current forgiveness form modified again, down to just one page.

 

With that said, we will continue to strongly advocate for the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act to be included in the next phase of coronavirus relief legislation, as it is likely to be the final piece of relief legislation we see before the November election and lame-duck session. Negotiations on the HEALS Act or the next piece of coronavirus relief are expected to last a couple of weeks, but Congress will hopefully have something on President Trump’s desk prior to the August recess which is scheduled to begin August 10th.

 

Stay alert! We do anticipate CUNA to release a nationwide Action Alert in the near future asking you to reach out to our Dakotas’ Congressional Delegation urging them to support S.4117, the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act and to include the legislation in the HEALS Act. We truly believe in the strength and power of our credit union grassroots advocacy; thank you in advance for taking part in this very important Action Alert. More to come!

 

Have a great week, stay well, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

 

 

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