March 18, 2020 BizTeam Alert on Congressional Legislation

As the coronavirus crisis continues to evolve and businesses and individuals are enduring growing hardships related to the health and financial impacts of the virus, the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has been consulting with local, state and federal officials  to identify opportunities to provide relief to our businesses, workforce and citizens. Below is a summary of federal government action and dialogue to date.  The chamber applauds the congress for its strong bipartisan and bicameral work to bring several relief efforts forward.
In addition to this, states have begun to take their own action to help individuals and businesses including a suspension of foreclosures and extension of unemployment benefits in Kansas. Due to the Missouri General Assembly adjourning and leaving Jefferson City, no legislative action has been taken from the legislature. With that being said, there is a belief that Missouri will be eligible for small business disaster loans (see below) in the near-future and Governor Parson has delayed April municipal elections until June. We will keep you updated with further developments as this is a very fluid situation.
HR 6074 – the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020: This bill, signed by the President on March 6, 2020, provides $8.3 billion in emergency funds to combat COVID-19. Funding includes:

  • More than $3 billion for research and development of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics to prevent or treat the effects of COVID-19.
  • $2.2 billion to support federal, state, and local public health agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the COVID-19.
  • $61 million for the FDA to facilitate the development and review (pre-market and post-market) of medical countermeasures, devices, therapies, and vaccines to combat COVID-19.
  • Allows $1 billion in loan subsidies to be made available to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture producers, and nonprofit organizations which have been impacted by financial losses as a result of COVID-19, and provides $20 million to SBA to administer these loans. This funding could enable SBA to provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to these entities.

HR 6201 – the Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020: This bill passed the Senate minutes ago is now on the way to the President’s desk. All regulations in the bill concerning employers are for those with fewer than 500 employees. As it stands now, HR 6201 does the following:

  • Provides free testing for anyone who needs it.
  • Expands FMLA to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for cases relating to COVID-19.
    • 10 of the weeks will be paid.
  • Provides $1 billion in grant funding for states to expand unemployment benefits for people who lose their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Provides $1.15 billion for food banks and to expand food aid for seniors and low-income pregnant women and mothers.
  • Suspends new work requirements for recipients of SNAP.

White House/Senate Bill “Phase 3” in Progress: The White House and the United States Senate are currently working on a bill that is looking at providing a large package of assistance to workers, small business and industries affected by the pandemic. Plans for Phase 3 are continuing to evolve.  Some of the things being proposed in the Senate package include:

  • Phase 3 relief package could potentially include:
    • $300B SBA Disaster Loans to support small businesses with cash flow
    • Two $250B in direct cash payments to Americans
      • ​One in April and another in mid-May
    • $200B in Stabilization Assistance for industries affected including, but not limited to airlines and hotels
      • Some economists fear that airlines could be out of cash by end of May
    • Treasury Department authority to temporarily backstop money markets by suspending restrictions on its Exchange Stabilization Fund
    • $46B Government Support Package for Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Department of Defense and Homeland Security.

Deferring IRS Payments ($300B) for 90 days

  • The IRS is deferring IRS payments by $300B for 90 days
  • Individuals can defer up to $1M dollars; companies up to $10M
  • If you are able, the IRS asks you should file your tax returns by April 15—especially if you’re expecting a refund
  • Taxpayers may still delay tax filings for six months (as normal) by filing an extension

HUD, Fannie, Freddie suspending foreclosures until end of April
Federal Reserve

  • Interest Rate lowered to near zero percent
  • Quantitative easing measures enacted
  • Fed will set up special “vehicle” for stimulus for banks for cash/ Commercial Paper Funding Facility (Similar to 2008)

More to come on policy changes as this situation evolves.