Federal Coronavirus Legislative Response Summary

Categories: Government Affairs

By John Nothdurft | March 27, 2020 << Back to Articles Federal Coronavirus Legislative Response Summary

Updated March 27, 2020

On March 27, the United States Congress passed a 3rd economic stimulus bill, the $2 trillion “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act”. President Trump has promised to swiftly sign the measure into law. 

The legislation includes a package of tax relief provisions, corporate and small business loan programs, and a taxpayer rebate program.  The bill provides funding to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the expedited review of chemicals that are effective against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  In addition, the bill extends the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program through July 23, 2020.  The bill also includes a host of funding for federal agencies and programs. Finally, the bill provides an additional $600 per week for those receiving unemployment benefits.

On March 18, Congress passed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (HR 6201). The House made some important “technical” changes which ISSA supported related to small businesses. These changes allow the Labor Department secretary to exempt small businesses with fewer than 50 employees from abiding by the leave requirement if it would significantly impact the “viability of the business”; narrowed the leave program definitions to focus on families caring for children that don’t have school or daycare anymore; emergency family leave will now begin after 10 days, rather than after 14 days; assistance is now capped at $10,000 per employee; paid sick leave and family leave now have increased tax credits to include amounts from employee’s health care plan for leave.

President Trump signed the first coronavirus response measure (PL 116-123) into law on March 6.  That law provided about $8 billion for immediate response efforts to the Health and Human Services Department, State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Small Business Administration.

Talks of a fourth or even fifth package could also happen but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate won’t reconvene until April 20. 

You can find ISSA’s full summary of the federal response bills here.

This page will continue to be updated as things change. For questions regarding ISSA’s response to the COVID-19 emergency, please contact John Nothdurft at [email protected].

About the Author.

John Nothdurft is the Director of Government Affairs for ISSA. He can be reached at [email protected].