Preface: Eight bills linked together comprise the pending HEALS Act legislation as a counter proposal to the HEROES Act, as additional Covid-19 relief measures are negotiated in Congress.
The HEALS Act: A Boots on Sand Covid-19 Safeguard
Credit: Donald J. Sauder, CPA | CVA
Staring this week’s Senate discussions, Republican Senators unveiled the next steps to safeguard the US economy from the possible risks of sinking sands amidst the coronavirus impact with a new bill – the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act (HEALS). The new coronavirus relief provisions outlined in this pending legislation could bring $1.0 Trillion of additional economic relief funding.
The bills package includes a buffet of economic legislation including $306.0 billion in emergency appropriation from the SAFE TO WORK act introduced from Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Safely Back To Work and Back to School Act from Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), the American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act from Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act from Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the Time to Rescue United States Trusts Act from Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Restoring Critical Supply Chains and Intellectual Property Act from Lindsey Graham (R – South Carolina).
First and foremost, the HEALS Act includes a second round of taxpayer stimulus checks like the CARES Act. This would provide qualifying taxpayers with $1,200 of relief funds for whatever spending purposes they so choose, with phase-outs on funds above $99,000 for individuals and $198,000 for couples. The Treasury announced these stimulus checks could arrive as early as August to qualifying taxpayers.
Secondly, economic relief with extra unemployment benefits proposed at $200 per week, as an extension to the original CARES Act $600 per week additional UC benefit that expired July 31. The federal supplement would not exceed 70% of previous wages when combined with both state and federal assistance, to incentivize workers to look for gainful employment.
The SAFE TO WORK Act proposal is designed to offer employers more durable protection from lawsuits brought from workplace coronavirus compliance risks. The Act would provide a guard to employers from personal injury lawsuits from coronavirus workplace risks. It would also place a ceiling on any awards, as long as employers did not demonstrate willful misconduct.
Update on PPP Loans
The famous Paycheck Protection Program would be extended to December 31, 2020, for bolstering treasuries of the forty-plus percent of small businesses that are concerned with making payroll without the aid of a PPP subsidy. The second round on these financings on the forgivable PPP loans would be limited to business with 300 or fewer employees with special funding channeled to micro-businesses with ten or fewer employees to ensure small business loan equality. Also, legislation is pending on automatic loan forgiveness on PPP loans below $150,000. The forgiveness features of the PPP loans are in a continued state of fluctuation, and borrowers should be patient as the trends are continuing towards reducing fears of inability or hassle to obtain forgiveness on PPP loans below $2.0 Million.
Also, a Long-Term Recovery Sector Loan facility would provide guaranteed long-term low-interest loans for working capital to businesses that equal up to two times annual revenues, with a $10.0 million ceiling. Maturity dates on these loans would be up to twenty years, with 1% interest rates. Eligible businesses would include 500 fewer employees that have seen declines in revenues of 50% or more in the first or second quarter of 2020 compared to 2019.
School funding features in the HEALS Act provide for $105.0 Billion to education, with $70.0 billion allocated to grade schools and $29.0 for colleges and universities. The emergency funding would offer scholarships to parents to send children to private schools and funding for private schools based on certain stipulations and student numbers.
The bill proposed from Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) would provide a tax deduction of 100% for business meals to give relief to support America’s restaurant workers.
While the HEALS Act is pending, the significance of the additional relief package, if approved, will bring a new wave of economic relief awaiting a tide to turn on the Covid-19 tribulations.
This article is general in nature, and it does not contain legal advice. Contact your advisors to discuss your specific situation