This week I want to inform all my clients about the Heals Act by the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last Monday. These collections of stimulus measures aim to help American families, workers, and businesses weather the Coronavirus pandemic.
As described by McConnell, the legislation will target three key areas, including jobs, health care, and children.
Here’s a look at the policies included in the Republican-sponsored legislation, which will require bipartisan cooperation to pass before lawmakers are expected to leave for August.
Another round of $1,200 checks is included in the HEALS Act, which will consist of “even more support” for families who care for vulnerable dependents.
The additional $500 for each dependent will be expanded to cover people of any age, some of whom were unintentionally left out in the first round.
The income criteria for the next round of economic impact payments would be the same as stipulated under the CARES Act ($1,200 per adult for those with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000. The threshold for married couples is $150,000 – they are eligible for $2,400 and $500 per child).
Sequel to PPP
The HEALS Act will allow small employers that have seen revenue decline by at least 50 percent to receive a second PPP forgivable loan.
Those second loans would be limited to small businesses with 300 or fewer employers.
The sequel would also expand forgivable PPP costs to include expenses needed to protect both employees and customers and would consist of the costs of implementing outdoor seating at restaurants.
Finally, it would allow seasonal businesses to calculate their loan amounts and simplify the forgiveness process for smaller borrowers.
Currently, business owners can apply for an initial round of funding through Aug. 8.
The Republican plan reduces the additional unemployment insurance benefit from the $600 provided under the CARES Act.
The benefit would be trimmed to $200 per week while states create a plan to provide each unemployed worker with wage replacement equal to 70 percent of their previous pay, up to a state cap, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said on Monday.
Liability protections would be included for everyone from doctors and nurses, who will be protected from malpractice suits to churches, charities, businesses, and schools, McConnell noted.
The hope is that the protections will encourage companies to reopen without fear that they will spend years in court.
McConnell described the legal protections as a means to “prevent our historic recovery efforts from simply lining the pockets of trial lawyers.”
The legislation will focus on diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines for the virus.
The bill will also protect Medicare recipients from premium spikes.
PPE made in America
On Monday, McConnell noted that the virus had caused leaders to reexamine the degree of dependence the U.S. has on China so that it will provide incentives for the domestic production of personal protective equipment.
Several tax credits would be expanded or added via the HEALS Act, including access to the employment tax credit and the work opportunity tax credit.
Tax credits will be made available to help businesses buy PPE and implement proper cleaning protocols to reopen and serve customers safely.
Additionally, the legislation would reintroduce the 100 percent deduction for business meals and entertainment.
I will be using this weekly newsletter to keep you updated when these proposals and guidance become law. If you have any questions regarding these proposals, please call my office.
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