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FEDERAL STIMULUS AND LEGISLATION

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SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT

The bill provides $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The bill includes $4 billion for diagnostic tests and vaccine research, $2.2 billion for the CDC, $1 billion for state and local response efforts and $20 million for disaster assistance loans for small businesses.

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

Big Take Away:  H.R. 6201 requires expanded paid Family Medical Leave, paid sick leave, and tax credits. BUT: the requirements only apply to businesses with fewer than 500 employees, AND all required paid leave is offset with a tax credit to the employer. Most, if not all, the provisions of the Act would expire at the end of December 2020.

Familes First Coronavirus Response Act Factsheet

CORONAVIRUS AID, RELIEF AND ECONOMIC SECURITY (CARES) ACT – PROVISIONS OF INTEREST TO ABA

Summary of CARES Act Tax Relief for Individuals and Business

Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act Factsheet

Division A – Small Business Interruption Loans Provision

Small Business Emergency Loans Guide (3/27)

CARES Act Small Business Provisions

CARES Act Small Business FAQs

House, Senate Leaders Release Guides to Help Constituents Navigate Coronavirus Relief

House Democrats Unveil $494 Billion Surface Transportation Bill Scheduled for June 17 Markup (6/3)

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM INCREASE ACT OF 2020

On April 21, the Senate passed the Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act of 2020 (the 3.5 package) to replenish certain programs established under the CARES Act and the SBA disaster loan programs. It now needs to be passed by the House and signed by President Trump.

Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act Section-by-Section

Legislative text of PPPI Act

ADMINISTRATION- OVAL OFFICE ADDRESS

On March 11, President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office to discuss the ongoing efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Included in his remarks were proposals the President would like incorporated into any future Congressional action on coronavirus including payroll tax cuts, benefits to hourly workers and targeted economic relief for small businesses.

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION

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The Small Business Administration will provide disaster assistance loans. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Further resources can be found in the attached document as well as on SBA’s website: www.SBA.gov/coronavirus and www.SBA.gov/disasterSBA Loan Resource Guide

PROCESS FOR ACCESSING SBA’S CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) DISASTER RELIEF LENDING

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

SBA UPDATES CRITERIA ON STATES FOR REQUESTING DISASTER ASSISTANCE LOANS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

On March 17, as part of the Trump Administration’s aggressive, whole-of-government efforts to combat the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) and minimize economic disruption to the nation’s 30 million small businesses, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued revised criteria for states or territories seeking an economic injury declaration related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). The relaxed criteria will have two immediate impacts:

  • Faster, Easier Qualification Process for States Seeking SBA Disaster Assistance.
  • Expanded, Statewide Access to SBA Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses.

Read more. 

Small Business Emergency Loans under CARES Act Guide

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM FAQS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Senate Small Business Committee FAQs

Paycheck Protection and Loan Forgiveness Factsheet

Treasury FAQs (updated May 13)

Interim Final Rule on Loan Increases (May 13)

Additional Treasury Guidance for the Paycheck Protection Program (April 14)

Treasury Issue Interim Final Rule on Disbursement-Related Issues under Paycheck Protection Program (4/29)

On March 31, the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department announced that they have initiated a mobilization of banks and other lending institutions to launch the new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. SBA and Treasury expect to have the loan program up and running by April 3.

Treasury has posted information about the program at treasury.gov/cares, including:

The SBA has posted additional information about the Paycheck Protection Program, including a program overview, eligibility, and other assistance at: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/paycheck-protection-program

If you need help navigating the complex rules to obtain money from the Small Business Administration, ABA’s partner USLAW Network has attorneys that can help you (for a fee).

SBA PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM LOAN FORGIVENESS

The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department issued two interim final rules (IFRs) related to loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program.

The first IFR provides borrowers and lenders guidance on the requirements governing the forgiveness of PPP loans.  It describes the loan forgiveness process and details what payroll and non-payroll costs are eligible for loan forgiveness.

The second IFR informs borrowers and lenders of the the SBA process for reviewing PPP loan applications and loan forgiveness applications.

The IFR dealing with requirements governing forgiveness of PPP loans.

The IFR dealing with review of SBA loan applications and loan forgiveness applications.

INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE

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RELIEF FOR TAXPAYERS AFFECTED BY ONGOING CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 PANDEMIC

On March 20, the Trump Administration moved the April 15 tax day back to July 15. Read more.

Relief for Taxpayers Affected by Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic Factsheet

Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know

FAQs for Small Businesses on Leave Tax Credit

Temporary Procedures to Fax Certain Forms 1139 and 1045 because of COVID-19 (Updated April 13)

IRS Announces Relief with Respect to Certain Deadlines Applicable to Employment Taxes, Employee Benefits, and Exempt Organizations Affected by COVID-19 (5/29)

On April 23, the Internal Revenue Service issued the attached frequently asked questions about carrybacks of net operating losses (NOLs) for taxpayers who have had section 965 inclusions. Read FAQs here.

For More Information

For more information about these credits and other relief, visit Coronavirus Tax Relief on IRS.gov. Information regarding the process to receive an advance payment of the credit will be posted next week.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

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FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION

EXPANDED EMERGENCY DECLARATION UNDER 49 CFR § 390.23 NO. 2020-002 (RELATING TO COVID-19)

On March 20, the FMCSA expanded its Emergency Declaration. See updates below:

EXPANDED EMERGENCY DECLARATION UNDER 49 CFR § 390.23 No. 2020-002.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the FMCSA Emergency Declaration 03/19/2020  

Notice to State Drivers Licensing Agencies of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Policy Regarding Effect of Actions during COVID-19 Emergency

Notice of Enforcement Discretion – Emergency Declaration 2020-002 – COVID-19 – 03-20-2020

DHS Guide on Essential Workers   

DISRUPTIONS TO DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE 2019 (COVID-19) PRESIDENTIALLY DECLARED NATIONAL EMERGENCY  

On March 24, FMCSA released guidance on drug and alcohol testing during the COVID-19 crisis.

FMCSA COVID-19 Drug & Alcohol Testing Guidance.pdf

FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Testing Disruptions Factsheet

FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Deadline Extension for Federal Transit Administration Competitive Grant Programs

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced that deadlines for several Federal Transit Administration (FTA) competitive grant programs will be extended for 30 days amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 30-day extension applies to grant programs currently administered by FTA with active notices of funding opportunities (NOFOs). See the grant programs affected by this announcement.

FTA Safety Advisory 20-01: Recommended Actions to Reduce the Risk of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Among Transit Employees and Passengers

This Safety Advisory recommends that transit agencies develop and implement procedures and practices consistent with all applicable guidance and information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure the continued safety of transit passengers and employees during this national emergency. Rad more.

FEDERAL RESERVE

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MAIN STREET LENDING PROGRAM GUIDANCE FOR COMPANIES WITH 500+ EMPLOYEES

On April 17, The Federal Reserve has announced that it is establishing a Main Street Lending Program (Program) to support lending to small and medium-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Program will operate through two facilities: the Main Street New Loan Facility (MSNLF) and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility (MSELF).

Read more.

FED SLASHES INTEREST RATES TO ZERO TO SUPPORT ECONOMY FROM CORONAVIRUS

The Federal Reserve on March 15 announced that it is slashing interest rates to zero and buying hundreds of billions of dollars in bonds, as part of a sweeping emergency effort to breathe life into an economy bracing for the fallout from the coronavirus.

Ahead of its scheduled policy-setting meeting Wednesday, the central bank said it expects to keep rates at zero “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.”

Read more. 

Department of Homeland Security

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TSA Delays Security Training for Surface Transportation Employees Compliance Date

On May 1, the Transportation Security Administration approved ABA’s request to delay the Security Training for Surface Transportation Employees compliance date from June 22 to Sept. 21. Read more.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

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DOL PUBLISHES GUIDANCE EXPLAINING PAID SICK LEAVE AND EXPANDED FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE UNDER

THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

On March 27, 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 questions and answers addressing critical issues such as what documents employees can be required to submit to their employers to use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave; whether workers can take paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking and whether workers whose employers closed before the effective date of the FFCRA can still get paid sick leave.

This guidance adds to a growing list of compliance assistance materials published by WHD, including a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and an earlier Questions and Answers document. Available are 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, Questions and Answers about posting requirements and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.

FFCRA, signed by President Trump, offers American businesses with fewer than 500 employees tax credits as reimbursement for providing employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.

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 https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Interim enforcement guidance on reusing disposable N95 filtering face piece respirators (N95 FFRs) that have been decontaminated

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

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DOD EXTENDS MILITARY BUS AGREEMENT #4 TERMINATION DATE UNTIL APRIL 30

Once ABA gauged the situation on how difficult life would be for the industry because of COVID-19, we immediately requested an extension to provide relief for overburdened operators and maintain continuing business opportunities for the industry moving forward. March 19, we received the announcement from the Department of Defense that the Defense Travel Management Office is extending the Military Bus Agreement #4 termination date until April 30, 2020.

DoD-approved carriers that do not apply for the DoD Bus Agreement #5 will not be able to bid on future DoD moves after this date. The termination of Military Bus Agreement #4 does not affect the rights or obligations that have vested or accrued prior to the effective date of such termination. All carriers, including DoD-approved carriers, interested in participating in the DoD Bus Program under DoD Bus Agreement #5 must submit a new DoD Bus Program Carrier application here.

If you have any questions, email: dodhra.mc-alex.dtmo.mbx.military-bus-program@mail.mil.

For reference, the DoD Bus Agreement #5 is available here.”

If you need a refresher on the DOD program changes, on March 11 ABA held a webinar that discussed the requirements and showed a demo of the GOPAX system. You can watch the webinar, here.

Other Operator Resources:

COVID-19 Travel, During and Post Pandemic

2020 Hurricane Season Preparedness Resources