As negotiations stall on a broad bipartisan COVID package, Senate Republicans are introducing targeted legislation that – while short of what either side prefers – would provide needed relief. Attached is the legislation and a summary provided to us by Republican Leadership.
Leader McConnell plans to hold a procedural vote this week to consider the bill. Democrats are expected to filibuster the motion to proceed to the legislation.
The following are some initial observations:
As called for in our Blueprint, the bill includes temporary, targeted liability protections for employers, who are making reasonable efforts to follow public health guidelines, against personal injury claims related to actual or alleged exposure to COVID-19, with exceptions for bad actors engaged in gross negligence or willful misconduct.
Payment Protection Program:
A critical pillar of the bill would provide $257.8 billion to allow entities that satisfy criteria to apply for a second PPP loan of up to $2 million. This has been a longstanding priority for our industry.
Among other criteria, to participate, businesses must have had at least a 35 percent reduction in gross receipts in the first or second quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. Previous versions of the legislation set the threshold at 50%. We advocated to lower the threshold, so more restaurants can participate.
Certain 501(c)(6) organizations could qualify for a PPP loan, if they satisfy requirements. Specifically, they must have 150 or fewer employees; not receive more than 10 percent of receipts from lobbying; and the lobbying activities of the organization do not comprise more than 10 percent of the total activities of the organization. The 501(c)(6) addition is critical for state restaurant associations that continue to provide invaluable assistance to restaurants throughout this crisis.
The legislation would provide $300 per week in enhanced unemployment benefits.
The bill would provide $16 billion for testing and contact tracing; $31 billion for vaccine and therapeutic development and distribution; $20 billion for farmers; and $500 million to fisheries.
For the full relief package summary, click HERE.