ISSA Advocates for Cleaning Industry in Latest COVID-19 LegislationAugust 3, 2020
U.S. Congress has begun negotiations on a “Phase Four” COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus package. U.S. Senate Republicans introduced a series of bills, collectively designated as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools Act or HEALS Act and totaling US$1 trillion, that serve as the starting point for negotiations. Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives set their marker in May when they passed the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act or HEROES Act.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ISSA’s Government Affairs team has been tirelessly advocating on behalf of the full spectrum of the cleaning industry. As we look to the next stimulus package, ISSA is championing several key policies that, if enacted, will provide needed aid, relief, and protections to our members and essential workers.
Cleaning Tax Credit for Businesses and Nonprofits
ISSA is spearheading a coalition of more than 30 business groups together representing millions of employees to educate Congress about a “reopening safely” tax credit. The tax credit would offset cleaning and workplace-safety costs, including purchasing cleaning products and equipment, the hiring of a professional cleaning company, and personal protective equipment (PPE). Several bipartisan bills, as well as the HEALS Act, have been introduced to create such a tax credit. While these bills differ in structure, scope, and size, they all recognize the enormous unexpected costs of creating and maintaining healthy spaces for workers and customers due to the pandemic.
We urge our members and advocates to contact their elected officials using ISSA’s Action Center and request their support for this bipartisan and commonsense tax credit as part of the next federal stimulus package.
Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness for Smallest Businesses
ISSA continues to advocate for additional aid for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Congress is considering providing complete loan forgiveness to any businesses that obtained a PPP loan of less than $150,000.
Liability Relief for Essential Businesses
ISSA has been advocating for liability protections for essential businesses that have taken precautions to protect their employees from the spread of the virus. These businesses face the threat of lawsuits alleging that someone contracted COVID-19 on their premises, the costs of which could be significant to fight.
The HEALS Act would provide protections for all businesses that made reasonable efforts to comply with government guidance. However, the legislation would not protect “bad actors” that failed to take reasonable efforts to comply and acted with gross negligence or committed intentional misconduct. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY-R) has stated publicly that if the Senate passes a stimulus package, the legislation will include liability relief.
Hazard Benefits for Essential Workers
In both the House and Senate, legislation has been introduced that would provide tax benefits to frontline workers who have been serving America throughout this crisis. Senator Joni Ernst (IA-R) introduced the Financial Relief Noting The Large Impact Of Our Nation’s Essential Employees Act or FRNT LINE Act that would suspend federal income taxes and, in some cases, payroll taxes for wages earned by essential workers, including those in the cleaning industry, up to a certain dollar amount. ISSA is asking Congress to include hazard pay or tax benefits for essential frontline workers in the next stimulus package.
- Additional state and local funding to cover the costs associated with increased cleaning and disinfection
- Funds for state block grants for childcare to be used for the cleaning and disinfection of those facilities
- Prohibiting price gouging related to cleaning supplies.
As negotiations on the next stimulus package progress, ISSA will continue telling the story of the cleaning industry and how our members have risen to the challenges of this crisis to ensure the safety and health of Americans. We will advocate for policies that provide our members and their businesses with the relief necessary so that our industry can continue serving the communities that rely on us.
“ISSA thanks the leadership in both parties for recognizing the importance of the cleaning industry in combating COVID-19 and getting Americans back to work safely,” said John Nothdurft, ISSA Director of Government Affairs. “We look forward to continuing to work with members of the House and Senate to pass a bipartisan stimulus package—one that includes these important policies.”
ISSA is working diligently to support the full spectrum of the cleaning industry in the U.S. and worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing a variety of government affairs resources. Please contact your elected officials and support the ISSA Advocacy Fund in any amount to help us continue to advocate for the cleaning industry as part of the congressional negotiations surrounding the latest COVID-19 legislation. For questions regarding ISSA advocacy, including the association’s response to COVID-19 and the ISSA Advocacy Fund, please contact [email protected].