September 27, 2020

Washington Wire: House Passes PPP Update Legislation; Senate Bill Facing Objections

06/03/2020

House Passes PPP Update Legislation; Senate Bill Facing Objections  

 
A bill passed on May 28 in the House of Representatives by a 417-1 vote a measure making changes to the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is held up due to objections from two Senators. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) have raised an objection to moving forward with the bill under an expedited process over extending the duration of the loan program from June 30 to December 31, 2020. Sen. Lee believes “that PPP was intended to be a short-term solution and that loan applications should be limited to Aug. 15.”
 
One Voice supports extending the period to at least September 30 to allow manufacturers additional time to rehire employees, return payroll levels closer to pre-COVID levels, and improve their chances for having their loan fully forgiven.
 
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on June 1 indicated he would like to move the House-passed bill under Unanimous Consent, allowing the chamber to skip a vote if none of the 100 Senators objected to using the expedited procedure. If all Senators do not lift their objections, the Senate must move under normal procedure with debate and use floor time. Should the Senate make changes to the bill, it must return to the House for consideration, which is not scheduled to return to Washington until June 30, but could with 72 hours notice. One Voice is working with lawmakers to address their concerns and move a bill updating the PPP, a program used by 90 percent of members according to a recent survey.
 
The bill passed by the House and pending in the Senate extends the PPP loan forgiveness period from 8 weeks to 24 weeks after a loan is issued or through December 31, whichever comes first, and extends to December 31 from June 30 a period in which loans can be forgiven if businesses restore staffing or salary levels that were previously reduced. The measure also changes the limitation on forgiveness, requiring businesses seeking loan forgiveness to spend at least 60% of covered funds on payroll expenses rather than the 75% established by the SBA while increasing the term from 2 to 5 years. Another change included in the bill allows businesses with forgiveness loans to defer payroll taxes.
 
If you have not already, you can TAKE ACTION NOW and send a message to your Senator asking them to support our industry and updates to the PPP program and the broader legislation expected to move in June. Remember if they do not hear your voice, Washington will not help your business.

 

 

 
Federal Reserve to Begin Emergency Lending Program for Small and Midsize Businesses
 
On Friday, in an interview hosted by Princeton University, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell stated the Fed is “days away” from making its first loans under the Main Street Lending Program. Under the program U.S. businesses may be eligible for loans if they meet either of the following conditions: (1) the business has 15,000 employees or fewer; or (2) the business had 2019 revenues of $5 billion or less. Loans issued under the Program would have a four-year maturity, and principal and interest payments on the loans will be deferred for one year. Recipients of SBA PPP loans may also apply for Main Street Lending Program loans, which may or may not require collateral depending on your lender.
 
Chairman Powell said that “the current structure is that the smallest loans would be a half a million [dollars] and the largest ones would be over 100 [million dollars]” and that probably the Fed will be “expanding on either end.” Once the Program is operational, small and medium-sized businesses interested in the Program can apply for Program loans by contacting an eligible lender.
 
While a master list of participating lenders is not available at this time, One Voice encourages interested manufacturers to contact their financial institutions to inquire about their participation. More information about the Program can be found here.

 

 

 
 Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Program Application Period Closes on June 12
 
On May 11, the U.S. Department of Labor began accepting applications to recognize associations and other organizations as Standards Recognition Entities (SREs) for the newly created Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP). The IRAP is intended to provide individuals with opportunities to obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and progressively advancing skills in a nonregistered apprenticeship process. IRAPs include a paid-work component and an educational component and result in an industry-recognized credential.
 
SREs will provide structured mentorship opportunities for apprentices throughout the duration of the apprenticeship that involve ongoing, focused supervision and training by experienced instructors and employees.
 
Types of entities that can become SREs include, but are not limited to, trade, industry, and employer groups or associations; corporations and other organized entities; educational institutions, such as universities and community colleges; state and local government agencies or entities; non-profit organizations; unions; joint labor-management organizations; certification and accreditation bodies or entities for a profession or industry; or a consortium or partnership of entities such as those above.
 
The Department of Labor will accept applications for this initial cycle through 11:59 PM on Friday, June 12, 2020. They will make determinations within approximately 90 days with additional applications reviewed on a quarterly basis. Applications submitted between June 13 - August 31 will be reviewed in the subsequent review cycle and determinations will be made in late 2020.

 

 

 
One Voice Coalition Asking for Liability Insurance; Pushing Back Against Universal OSHA Requirements
 
One Voice also signed on to a letter to Congress in support of adding liability insurance protections for employers. Manufacturers already provide safe environments for their workforce and should not be bogged down by frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits while attempting to restart the economy.
 
In addition, One Voice recently signed on to a letter asking Congress not to adopt a Democratic proposal having OSHA issue a single General Industry guidance for workplaces and that the agency’s current industry specific approach helps manufacturers. A one size fits all approach means the same rules for salons apply to manufacturers, whereas right now manufacturers have their own specific guidance.

 

 

 
EPA Proposes Rule to Improve Transparency of Guidance
 
On May 22, the EPA published in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) establishing consistent procedures and requirements for how the agency will manage the issuance of guidance documents subject to the requirements of President Trump’s Executive order “Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents.” According to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the proposed rule will significantly increase the transparency of EPA’s practices around guidance and will improve the agency’s process for managing guidance documents. Specifically, the rule will:
 
  • Establish the first formal petition process for the public to request that EPA modify or withdraw a guidance document;
  • Ensure that the agency’s guidance documents are developed with appropriate review and are accessible and transparent to the public; and
  • Provide for public participation in the development of significant guidance documents.
 
One Voice strongly supports the administration’s effort to increase transparency in EPA processes, ensuring the agency is not creating new regulatory obligations through guidance. The Comment period for the proposed rule closes on June 22