In a chaotic week on Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of legislators has proposed a compromise: $908 billion in coronavirus relief, dubbed the “Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020.” The bipartisan proposal is wide-ranging and includes money for COVID testing, contact tracing, nutrition assistance and student loan relief—but it would also importantly recharge and rework the popular Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and provide unemployment assistance and rent relief.
Second Round of PPP
The proposed package would rework the PPP by appropriating $300 billion for use by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to support the hardest hit small businesses. This round of PPP would allow certain businesses to receive a second forgivable PPP loan. Specifically, these second loans would be limited to small businesses with 300 or fewer employees and revenue losses in any one quarter of 2020 of 30% or more. One major change from the initial PPP program expands eligibility to small non-lobbyist 501(c)(6) organizations with 150 or fewer employees, such as convention and visitors bureaus, to be eligible for a PPP loan. And, importantly, this time, the bipartisan lawmakers propose making the expenses paid for with the proceeds of PPP loans expressly tax deductible. PPP this time would also provide relief to independent live venue operators that were affected by stay-at-home orders and would include a simplified forgiveness application for loans made for $150,000 or less.
The bipartisan legislators also propose extending all pandemic unemployment insurance programs by 16 weeks (into April 2021), which would include an extension of the federal supplemental insurance benefits of $300 per week. Currently, these unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of December.
As for rent relief, the bipartisan package would provide $25 billion for use by state and local governments and tribal governments for rent assistance for those at risk of eviction through the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Ninety percent of the funds would have to be used for the payment of rent and back rent, utilities and back utilities, as well as related housing stability services. The remaining ten percent of the funds would be made available for housing stability services. The bipartisan group also proposes extending the eviction moratorium until the end of January 2021.
This package differs from the prior partisan packages debated since the summer by Democrats and Republicans. This week, President Trump also unveiled a proposed package in response to this bipartisan proposal, which differs significantly from the bipartisan proposal. Congress is set to informally recess for the holidays on Dec. 18, 2020, so there is a sense of urgency associated with passing some relief measure and, to date, no formal bill has been proposed that reflects this bipartisan proposal.
Here is a link to the latest framework of the proposed bill. KJK will continue to provide updates. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please reach out to Justine Lara Konicki at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.736.7211.