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House Poised to Consider $2.2 Trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill

The House of Representatives is expected to pass another round of economic coronavirus relief legislation this week. Included in the $2.2 trillion dollar bill are numerous provisions important for Big “I" members. 
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house passes $2.2 trillion covid-19 relief bill

As of press time, the U.S. House of Representatives was expected this week to consider another round of coronavirus relief legislation. This legislation is a slimmed-down version of the “HEROES Act" that previously passed the House in May with a partisan vote. This new “skinny" bill, as it is known inside the Beltway, is expected to pass on partisan lines and is not expected to be considered in the U.S. Senate, but negotiations between House Democrats and the Trump Administration continued this week in an effort to break the logjam.

Included in the $2.2 trillion dollar bill are numerous provisions important for Big “I" members. Specifically, the legislation would extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which expired on Aug. 8. 

Especially important for Big “I" state associations is that this bill would allow 501(c)(6) organizations to access the PPP program, as long as the organization's lobbying activities don't comprise of more than 10% of the organization's activities. The Big “I" has advocated extensively for 501(c)(6) organizations to have access to the PPP. 

Other notable PPP related provisions include allowing some businesses to apply for a second PPP loan and a more simplified forgiveness process for loans under $150,000. 

The bill would also provide other avenues for relief including a $120 billion relief fund for restaurants and bars, a new “lifeline" grant program for especially hard-hit small businesses with less than 50 employees, a new round of $1200 per taxpayer and $500 per dependent direct stimulus checks and a resumption of the $600 weekly federal unemployment payments through January 2021. 

Finally, the legislation includes text from the SAFE Banking Act, which the House passed in September 2019. This provision provides a federal “safe harbor" to financial services providers who choose to work with “cannabis-related legitimate businesses," including insurers and agents and brokers. The legislation also prevents criminal prosecution and civil liability against agents and brokers engaged with those clients. 

Joseph Cortina is Big “I" director of federal government affairs. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020
On the Hill