December 14, 2020

Will Congress Pass An End Of The Year COVID Relief Bill?

That remains to be seen. On December 9, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled the Emergency COVID Relief Act of 2020, a framework for a $908 billion coronavirus relief package. Click here to read the full details, but importantly, this proposal would:

  • Allow the hardest-hit businesses to receive another loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program;
  • Offer limited liability protections for businesses from COVID-19 related lawsuits;
  • Provide new funding for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, and vaccine distribution;
  • Provide $160 billion for state and local governments; and
  • Provided an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits through April 2021.

A few days later, on December 14, the senators proposed dividing these initiatives into two groups: the liability protections and the $160 billion state and local funding — and everything else. That is because U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are still at odds over establishing a liability shield for businesses and providing state and local funding. Republicans want the former while Democrats want the latter.

The path forward for this legislation, or any other bill, remains uncertain, however, and Congress is running out of time.

Lawmakers from both parties have said that any COVID-19 relief deal would be attached to an end-of-the-year government-spending bill. The current spending bill, passed last week, expires on December 18. It is important that businesses make their voices heard on this matter.

The National Association of Manufacturers has created several websites where companies can take action. Please:

  • Click here to tell lawmakers to extend the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses.
  • Click here to send a message in support of COVID-19 liability protections for companies that have followed the rules and sought to protect employees.
  • Click here to ask lawmakers to support lifting limits on allowable interest deductions, giving lending relief for manufacturers dealing with the economic effects of the pandemic.
  • Click here to ask lawmakers to fund efforts to widely distribute COVID-19 vaccines.