New proposed legislation would allow 501(c)(6) organizations access to loans through the Paycheck Protection Program without vague restrictions.
Last week, Senate Republicans released a number of legislative proposals, known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act, that they would then package together in the next COVID-19 relief bill. This legislation included a provision authored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) that would extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and also make some changes to it.
Of interest to Big “I" state associations, the new legislation would allow for 501(c)6 organizations to access PPP loans but with a significant caveat. 501(c)6 organizations would be ineligible for the loans if lobbying activities comprised more than 10% of the organization's overall activities.
The Big “I" has worked closely with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) on this issue and has consistently pushed Congress to allow 501(c)6 organization's access to PPP loans, but like ASAE, has strong concerns with this language. We think the language is vague and could cause considerable problems regarding what is considered lobbying activities and who would make that determination.
For that reason, the Big “I" continues to advocate for H.R. 6697, "The Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act of 2020," by Rep. Chris Pappas (D-New Hampshire) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania). This legislation was included in the Democrats' most recent COVID-19 package, the HEROES Act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives back in May. This legislation would allow 501(c)(6) organizations to access loans through the PPP without vague restrictions.
In addition to working closely with ASAE throughout these discussions, the Big “I" has sent multiple letters to congressional leadership advocating for support for 501(c)(6) organizations and will continue advocating for both our small business and state association members as COVID-19 discussions continue.
Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" senior director of federal government affairs.