On Wednesday, June 3, 2020, Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) announced that he was meeting with Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Friday on another round of COVID-19 legislation. The discussion between the two will be around the role of infrastructure spending, and it would be the Democrats’ goal for this piece to be combined with what the House sent over to the Senate last month. Of high priority for Democrats is an extension of unemployment benefits, tax credits, and state relief.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to limit Senate action to judicial nominations and has not set any timetable for, what would be, a fifth COVID-19 bill. He has raised the issue of liability protection for businesses, a topic that is always controversial.
The Senate did pass and send to the White House (last Wednesday) a House-passed bill that made adjustments to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the $660 billion program that allows small businesses and non-profits to borrow funds with forgiveness of the loan if the dollars are used to retain staff and pay certain expenses. The amendments to the program allow employers 24 weeks to spend the money they have borrowed and had the loans forgiven instead of the original 8-week period. Some borrowers were bumping up against that deadline this week. The changes also lowered the amount that must be spent on payroll from 75 percent to 60 percent.