Latest on the Next Congressional Pandemic Relief Package
Speaking at a press conference this morning, House Speaker Pelosi said she told Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that they will not do the stand-alone bill on airlines without a guarantee that other stimulus items are going to be addressed. The two spoke by phone Wednesday morning, and again Wednesday evening, when the focus was on the airlines. The pair is expected to speak again later today.
Earlier this week, Speaker Pelosi had signaled a willingness to consider a stand-alone airline bill if a broader pandemic relief package couldn’t be negotiated. And while President Trump announced on Tuesday evening that he was shutting down all further negotiations, he quickly reversed himself and on Wednesday morning opened the door to discussion of an airline bill, and today tweeted that Congress should approve not only the $25 billion in airline payroll support, but also $135 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. NAW continues to work with our trade association allies for passage of a new relief measure that includes liability protection, protects the business tax credits included in the CARES bill, and restarts and/or expands the PPP.
Democrats have generally opposed passing stand-alone bills, saying that approach would leave out some of their priorities, including extending pandemic unemployment insurance benefits, funding for state and local governments, food-stamp assistance and childcare. Republicans remained skeptical that Speaker Pelosi would make major concessions, including liability protections for employers, and worried that even if a deal were reached, the Senate might not be able to juggle a sweeping relief bill and the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Barrett.
The House is scheduled to be out of session until after the election, but they could return to vote on a measure if an agreement is struck. Regardless of whether the Senate is in session next week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham and Leader McConnell have vowed to move forward with confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Barrett. Chairman Graham has formally scheduled the panel to start its days-long hearing for Judge Barrett's Supreme Court nomination next week beginning on Monday, October 12th.
NAW Coalition Letter to Treasury & IRS on COVID-19 Relief
Yesterday, the Partnership for Employer-Sponsored Coverage (P4ESC), which NAW helps manage, sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Rettig with a request for COVID-related safe harbor compliance relief under the ACA reporting requirements (Sections 6055 and 6056) and the employer shared responsibility (Section 4980H). This letter follows up on the Coalition’s initial letter dated May 11th, and subsequent letters sent by Members of Congress.
IRS employer reporting requirements (Sections 6055 and 6056) loom large over employers of all sizes under normal circumstances and are compounded under the current crisis. The IRS process involves issuing a Letter 226-J to inform an employer of a tax penalty if the data is not matched to an individual’s tax return, regardless of the employer’s reporting of an offer of coverage to a full-time employee. An employer has only 30 days to appeal a 226-J letter, which is sent in the mail and not through email. The issuance of 226-J tax penalty letters to employers that have complied with the law’s employer mandate requirement leaves the employer vulnerable to tax penalties or requires additional administrative costs and compliance burdens to appeal the letters. You can read the letter HERE.
Latest on Economic Recovery and Re-Opening the Workplace
As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to impact the United States economy and businesses across the nation, it can be hard to decipher how new regulations and laws may impact your business. To help you manage these issues NAW is providing information about reports, webinars and seminars that you may find useful:
From Littler Law Firm:
Facing Your Face Mask Duties – A List of Statewide Orders
As businesses re-open, face coverings are likely to remain popular as a preventative measure. This post identifies the jurisdictions where face coverings are recommended or required. To read the updated list, click HERE.
From Littler Law Firm:
This Won’t Hurt a Bit: Employee Temperature and Health Screenings – A List of Statewide Orders
Employee health screening steps, including temperature checks, are becoming more common as states begin to re-open their economies. This post covers measures that require employers to take employees’ temperatures and/or conduct other screening procedures. To read the full list, click HERE.
Stateside Associates publishes a daily report about State and Local Government responses to the evolving situation. To read their latest report, click HERE.
We are also providing a link to a spreadsheet that includes state and local COVID-19 response information provided by MultiState Associates. To view their spreadsheet, click HERE.
Unrelated to COVID-19
NAW Joins Allied Associations on Amicus Brief Relating to Contract Bar Doctrine
This week NAW, along with other members of the Coalition for a Democratic Workforce, filed an amicus brief on the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) decision in Mountaire Farms Inc., 05-RD-256888. The NLRB had asked for briefs to be filed as to “whether the Board should (1) rescind the contract-bar doctrine, (2) retain it as it currently exists, or (3) retain the doctrine with modifications.”
As you may know, the contract bar doctrine is a legal doctrine that prohibits a union representation election in a unit that is covered by a current collective bargaining agreement. The contract bar doctrine mostly concerns decertification efforts because the doctrine prevents employees from filing a decertification petition during the course of labor agreements that last three years or less, therefore establishing a very short and specific filing window for decertification petitions.
In the brief, we argue that the board should either rescind the contract bar doctrine entirely or should modify the doctrine to significantly shorten the period during which employees are barred from challenging a union’s majority status. If you would like to read brief you can view it HERE.
Jade West, Chief Government Relations Officer
Blake Adami, Vice President-Government Relations
Seth Waugh, Associate Vice President-Government Relations
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
The above information and links to other information has been prepared by NAW for the general information of NAW members. It is not intended to, and does not, provide tax, legal or professional advice concerning any specific matter. You should not act on the information without first obtaining professional advice and counsel.