COVID-19 Federal Updates: May 21, 2020
Updated: Jun 9
President Trump signed an executive order instructing federal agencies to use any and all authority to waive, suspend and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.
The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote next week on legislation to update issues with the SBA Paycheck Protection Program that have served as obstacles to some small businesses seeking relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The standalone bill will extend the time businesses have to rehire employees and qualify for loan forgiveness under the program beyond the existing June 30 deadline.
It would also extend the period for paying back portions of the loans that aren't forgiven beyond two years, as well as eliminate the "75-25 rule" implemented by the White House that says businesses have to spend at least 75 percent of the loan on payroll costs and no more than 25 percent on other expenses like rent and utilities.
GCP weighed in on this issue in a recent Great Lakes Metro Chambers Coalition letter, calling for greater flexibility in the program to better assist small businesses.
Some Senate Republican support for moving the next coronavirus relief bill as soon as next month may be growing after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers this week that the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic could last for years.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has maintained a “pause” almost a week after the House passed a $3 trillion relief bill containing a Democratic wish list of items.
The government could save tens of billions of dollars by addressing 467 issues, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its annual report released Tuesday.
Some economists say that when the downturn ends, the government will need to find a credible plan to reduce deficits and the overall debt.
More Federal Updates
Federal Agencies Share Principles for Offering Responsible Small-Dollar Loans (HERE)
The Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recognize the role small-dollar loans can play in helping customers meet their ongoing needs for credit from temporary cash-flow imbalances, unexpected expenses, or income shortfalls, including during periods of economic stress, natural disasters, or other extraordinary circumstances such as the public health emergency created by COVID-19.
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Final Rule to Expand Access to Bonuses for American Workers (HERE)
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division announced a final rule that allows employers to offer bonuses or other incentive-based pay to employees whose hours vary from week-to-week.
Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce (HERE)
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released version 3.1 of its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. Version 3.1 provides clarity around many individual worker categories, including expanded language for those workers supporting at-risk communities and the essential nature of health facility workers in communities across the country.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund) (HERE)
This Frequently Asked Questions document seeks to answer questions that may not be easily understood from a plain reading of Section 18002 and other parts of the CARES Act or the GEER Fund Certification and Agreement (C&A).
Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education (HERE)
As some institutes of higher education open in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following considerations for ways in which they can help protect students and employees (e.g., faculty, staff, and administrators) and slow the spread of COVID-19.
SNAP Online Purchasing to Cover 90% of Households (HERE)
The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced that households in 13 new states – Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia – will soon be able to purchase food online with their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.