Nonprofit Stimulus Package – Second PPP Loans For Charities overviews what we know about the ongoing negotiations between the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives regarding the second stimulus package. Unfortunately time ran out before Congress could find common ground. In response to the stalemate, President Trump signed four executive actions Saturday aimed at delivering relief to Americans struggling with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. These orders include a $400-per-week supplemental unemployment payment to out-of-work Americans — short of the $600 weekly benefit that expired at the end of July. He unveiled an extension of student loan relief and protections from evictions for renters and homeowners. The President also issued a payroll tax holiday through the end of the year for Americans earning less than $100,000, while promising more relief in a forthcoming stimulus package.
The second stimulus proposal from the Senate Republicans, named the Help, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, includes multiple smaller pieces of legislation. These components would provide another round of direct stimulus payments to Americans, a freeze on Medicare premiums, and more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding to charities including extending liability shields for nonprofits facing COVID-19-related lawsuits.
Here’s what we know so far:
More funding will likely be available for the Paycheck Protection Program. The program provides loans to nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees and has already gone through two funding rounds in Congress totaling $650 billion.
The Republican proposal for more PPP funding is included in a piece of legislation titled the Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act. The act would allow charities to receive a second PPP loan if they can demonstrate they’ve lost at least 50% in gross revenue, and would also create a $60 billion long-term recovery loan program that targets nonprofits, low-income communities and minority-owned businesses.
In a separate Republican proposal titled the SAFE TO WORK Act, charities and other entities would be protected from lawsuits tied to coronavirus infections. That includes businesses, schools, hospitals, churches nonprofits, universities and government agencies. Entities would be shielded from coronavirus-related liability, unless they engaged in gross negligence, consciously engaging in reckless disregard for the safety of their customers and employees.
Liability protection has been a top priority for Republicans, especially McConnell.
“[The next stimulus package] must have, must, no bill will pass the Senate without liability protection for everyone related to the coronavirus,” McConnell said during a recent stop in Kentucky, as reported by The Hill. “Nobody should have to face an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic that we already have related to the coronavirus.”
The White House previously said the liability protection provisions were “non-negotiable” in the next stimulus package, but appears to have reversed its stance. According to the Washington Post, the administration would consider signing a deal that didn’t include liability protections.
Democrats have strongly objected to the liability protection proposal, arguing that it would allow charities and businesses to put employees in danger without any legal consequences.
The “Supporting America’s Restaurant Workers Act,” introduced by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), would increase tax deductions for business meals from its current 50% allocation to 100%.
The Republicans are floating two proposals for the next round of stimulus checks.
The American Workers, Families And Employers Assistance Act includes another round of one-time payments, commonly referred to as stimulus checks. It proposes the same $1,200 payment as the CARES Act—identical to what Democrats have called for in the HEROES Act—including the same income threshold. However, the HEALS Act proposes a $500-per-dependent payment to taxpayers with dependents of any age, not just those who are under 17, which the CARES Act mandated.
The CARES Act provided one-time payments of $1,200 to individuals who made up to $75,000 per year, and $2,400 to married couples who filed jointly and made up to $150,000 per year, with an additional $500 per qualifying dependent. Those who had incomes higher than those thresholds fell into a “phase out” range. Single taxpayers with incomes above $99,000 and married couples with incomes above $198,000 did not receive a payment.
These Republican stimulus check proposals are an about-face from what the GOP had been discussing previously. Republicans earlier called for the next round of payments to target lower-income individuals who make $40,000 or less annually.
The second stimulus package likely will extend Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which was included in the CARES Act, but the final payments went out last weekend. This federally funded unemployment aid provided an additional $600 per week on top of state-funded unemployment benefits.
The HEALS Act would provide $200 weekly unemployment supplemental payments through September. Starting in October, the boost would be replaced with a payment that, when combined with state unemployment insurance payments, equals 70% of an individual’s lost wages. That means beginning in October, payments would be unique based on each individual’s previous earnings.
This could prove difficult to implement quickly. The National Association of State Workforce Agencies says it would take up to 20 weeks for most states to implement the Republican proposal for wage replacement, blaming aging computer systems and already-overwhelmed unemployment offices, according to an association memo. The HEALS Act would provide $2 billion to assist states in upgrading their unemployment insurance systems to better prepare for the changes mandated by the bill.
Multiple pieces of legislation in the HEALS Act would provide billions in funding for testing, vaccines, COVID-19 research and disease tracking. Health funding is included in various Republican proposals, making it unclear what the final package might look like.
McConnell said last week the GOP proposal will include additional funding for schools, with some of those funds reserved for schools that physically reopen. He previously stated that $105 billion would be allocated for schools, but until Republicans release the bill’s text, that number cannot be confirmed.
“This majority is preparing legislation that will send $105 billion so that educators have the resources they need to safely reopen,” McConnell said. “That is more money than the House Democrats set aside for a similar fund, by the way. And that’s in addition to support for child care needs.”
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Nonprofit Stimulus Package – Second PPP Loans For Charities was based in part on Forbes Magazine August 5th Article.
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