COVID-19

Government Resources: Federal Level

   

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NPMA continues to monitor the situation in the US and Canada to provide updates on any legislation or regulations that could affect our industry. If you have any questions on federal activity, please contact Ashley Amidon, NPMA's VP of Public Policy.
 

United States

 

COVID Legislative Update: Funding Bill Heads to President Trump
Posted 12/22/20

While a significant amount of time and attention has been (rightly) paid to the COVID package put together in just a few days, the package that passed the House and the Senate last night and now heads to the President’s desk is more than just COVID. The COVID portion (see NPMA’s breakdown here) is approximately $900 billion out of the roughly $2.4 trillion package.

The rest comprises funding for the federal government, known as an omnibus because it includes appropriations bills for all areas of the federal government. This omnibus allocates money to more departments than can be covered here, but below are some highlights that may be of interest to the industry.

Overall Priorities: The bill includes $740.5 billion in defense spending and $664.5 billion for domestic programs.

Small Business Administration: The SBA received $778.9 million in funding, an increase of $39.9 million above the President’s budget request.

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill: This included $730 million for rural broadband.

Environmental Protection Agency: The bill provides a total of $9.24 billion in for EPA – $180 million above the 2020 enacted level and $2.53 billion above the President’s budget request.

Public Health: The bill includes $7.9 billion for CDC, an increase of $125 million above the FY 2020 enacted level.

Taxes: The bill includes a change to the Employee Retention & Rehiring Credit; the credit is increased from 50% to 70%. The cap has also been changed from $10,000 per year to $10,000 per quarter. The bill also allows full expensing for business meals (reported in the media as the “3 martini lunch tax credit.”)

Other provisions of interest

  • $1.375 billion for 56 miles of President Trump’s border wall
  • 3% pay raise for members of the military
  • Funding for two new Smithsonian Museums: one for Women’s history and one for Latin American history.

What’s Next?

Congress passed a 7 day funding continuing resolution (CR) Monday to ensure it has time to get to the President. Both parties are keen to ensure that the government doesn’t lurch from extension to extension so wanted this done, and the Democrats have the additional impetus of wanting to give the Biden administration some breathing room early in the year to focus on other priorities besides funding the government. Trump has not issued any veto threats for the bill, so it is expected he will sign and this (along with the COVID portion sent last night) will become law shortly.

 

 

 

Canada

5.4.20 Canadian Federal Update

The Canadian Government has created helpful links and guides to provide direction to businesses affected by COVID-19. 

Support for Businesses: collection of resources available here.

These links cover avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees as well as access to credit. Support is provided to both small and medium sized enterprises, with specific support also available for self-employed individuals.

Guidance Documents for Businesses

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): For businesses and employees: For both employers and employees who want guides to their rights and responsibilities under COVID specific legislation and regulation.

Risk-informed decision-making for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic: For businesses that are considered essential and are therefore still operating as well as for businesses who will reopen in the short term.

Support for Individuals: collection of resources here.

These links cover items including additional funds for individuals to cover pay loss, extension of tax deadlines, mortgage payment deferral and others programs.

 

3.26 Canada & COVID: C-13 Becomes Law

Wednesday, March 25 Bill C-13 became law in Canada after extensive last-minute negotiations. The bill provides funding for individuals and businesses hurt by COVID-19 and expands the government’s ability to support those affected in the future.

There were multiple concerns that this package drastically expanded the power of the government and so became very contentious this week. Several problematic proposals were changed at the 11th hour to allow passage, including the removal of a provision that would have let the finance minister raise taxes without parliamentary approval.

Included are several important provisions on oversight and spending:

  • Cabinet ministers can spend any amount of money they deem needed in a public health emergency through Sept. 30, 2020.
  • The Finance Minister will begin biweekly reporting to Parliament starting next week to provide a status update on how the funding is being used.

Support for Individuals: Last week two different emergency benefits were announced and through this bill have puttied together and renamed The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Under the program, individuals can receive up to $2,000 a month for the next four months, with an online portal up for applications on or about April 6th, which checks received within 10 days of applying. This benefit will apply to any Canadian out of work due to reasons related to COVID-19, including for sickness, quarantine, caregiving, staying home to take care of children, furloughed workers, those who are still technically employed but not receiving income. The benefit would cover wage-earners, contract workers, self-employed and gig industry individuals. This would apply whether an individual is eligible for unemployment insurance or not. This is a taxable benefit.

Support for Small & Medium Sized Businesses

Formed earlier in March this year, the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.  This program will allow BDC and EDC to work with private lenders and help individual businesses. Companies interested in taking part can get more information here and can contact their lending institutions to get started.

C-13 also provides eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months (March 18, 2020 through June 19, 2020) based on a formula within the legislation.

Click here for the latest information on Canadian Government actions surrounding COVID-19.

 

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