TRALA Update on the Coronavirus
On March 19, 2020 the Senate introduced S. 3548 the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act (CARES Act). This is the third legislative package that has been introduced to directly confront the COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis and reduce the strain on the U.S. economy. The CARES Act would spend at least $1.6 trillion to combat the disease, directly stimulate areas of the economy which have been the hardest hit, and authorize tax rebates and increased unemployment benefits to individuals.
Additionally, the CARES Act seeks to ramp up the supply of medical equipment which is essential for treating patients with the coronavirus, it also mandates that private insurance cover all costs of treatment for the coronavirus, appropriates additional revenue for hospitals, and increases grants for pharmaceutical companies to develop treatments for the coronavirus. Furthermore, the bill allows employers to defer payment of their employer share of payroll taxes. Employers generally are responsible for paying a 6.2-percent Social Security tax on employee wages. The provision requires that the deferred employment tax be paid over the following two years, with half of the amount required to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by December 31, 2022. Of particular interest to TRALA members is Section 2204 which modifies the loss limitation applicable to pass-through businesses and sole proprietors, so they can utilize excess business losses and access critical cash flow to maintain operations and payroll for their employees. Additionally, Section 2206 which temporarily increases the amount of interest expense businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns, by increasing the 30-percent limitation to 50 percent of the taxable income (with adjustments) for 2019 and 2020.
The Senate negotiators have been working on this package for over a week and were prepared to hold their first procedural vote on the CARES Act Sunday night. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that she did not support the Senate bill and that the House would begin work on their own stimulus package this week. Speaker Pelosi's announcement caused enough Senate Democrats to pull their support and stall movement on the Senate bill as they required 60 votes to proceed with the CARES Act. Additionally, this could mean that the House and Senate will have to pass their own bills and then reconcile the differences in a conference committee, which would likely delay passage of a stimulus package until the end of this week most likely. Additionally, this could make negotiating a fourth bill much more difficult as the decision to oppose the bill has created a lot of new animosity in the Senate. You may view the proposed CARES Act by clicking here. There is a thorough summary of the CARES Act that was provided to TRALA by Senate staff. You may view the summary by clicking here.
As TRALA has stated in previous notifications to its membership it continues to monitor state “stay at home” orders, and how they deem which businesses are essential or not. While most states are expected to follow the guidance put out by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), some states have made their own modifications in deeming which industries and services are essential. Under the guidance from CISA, truck renting and leasing companies are considered essential and are allowed to remain operating under state “stay at home” orders. Additionally, the Council of State Governments has compiled a working list of State Emergency declarations which can be found by clicking here, and a list of any additional mandates from the states can be found by clicking here.
TRALA will continue to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and work with federal, state and local governments if they choose not to adopt the CISA guidelines. If you have any questions regarding the CARES Act or the CISA guidelines, please contact Jake Jacoby at firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Stasiowski at email@example.com