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May 18, 2020

U.S. House Passes Next Pandemic Spending Bill, Senate Likely To Reject It

On Friday, May 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed another COVID-19 related spending bill, this time on a largely party-line vote.

Because of the overall cost of the legislation—$3 trillion—and its contents, the Republican-led Senate is not likely to consider the legislation. Rather, this bill, called H.R. 6800, the HEROES Act, will act as House Democrats’ negotiating points for the upcoming debate over the next piece of coronavirus legislation. A one-page description of the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here.

The legislation has a handful of concerning provisions, including:

  • Repeal of the net operating loss (NOL) and loss limitation relief enacted as part of a previous COVID-19 bill. As Connecting the Dots explains here, this provision allows companies to use tax losses from 2018, 2019, and 2020 to offset income from the prior five years. A repeal likely would raise taxes for several Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) member companies. Click here for more information on why NOL is important and must be preserved. Click here to read more about how the HEROES Act would alter current law.
  • Extension of paid and sick leave, no matter an individual employee’s circumstances, until December 31, 2021. Under current law, COVID-19 expanded paid and sick leave (explained here) is to last only until December 31, 2020 and employers are to be fully reimbursed by the federal government for it. The HEROES Act also would extend the leave to all employers, but would provide reimbursement only to businesses with fewer than 500 employers.

The Metals Service Center Institute will continue to monitor these provisions as Congress debates the next coronavirus spending package.