GCSAA is coordinating with lobbyists from other leading golf organizations to closely monitor and engage on all federal coronavirus-related pieces of legislation being moved through Congress to make sure golf is not discriminated against and to ensure the industry is an eligible recipient of short- and long-term relief. The same holds true for any federal tax relief legislation under consideration. GCSAA is mindful of the incredible impacts to major industries, and the golf business is certainly no different.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, more than 128 bills addressing the crisis have been introduced in Congress. For summaries and statuses of relevant legislation regarding COVID-19, see below:
Executive Order on COVID-19
On March 13, President Trump declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency. On March 18, the President issued an executive order, under the 1998 Stafford Act, intended to free up Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds in order to address the impacts the virus has on the economy and health care system. The Trump Administration estimates it will cost around $40 billion. President Trump also declared a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act, allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to waive regulations for Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs in order to expand access to health care services.
H.R. 6074 Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (Relief Bill No. 1)
In a bipartisan effort, both chambers of the U.S. Congress passed H.R. 6074, which provides $8.3 billion to combat COVID-19. President Donald Trump signed the appropriations bill into law on March 6. Of the $8.3 billion, at least $1.05 billion, primarily from the CDC, will go to state, local and tribal efforts. The bill allows the CDC to provide grants or enter into cooperative agreements with state, local and tribal governments to dispense these funds. Key provisions include:
$3.4 billion — Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund
Vaccine efforts, therapeutics, diagnosis, medical supplies, medical surge capacity building, health services and oversight.
$2.2 billion — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Federal, state and local public health efforts, surveillance, testing, infection control, mitigation and replenishing funds.
H.R. 6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Relief Bill No. 2)
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted March 18. The bill was introduced in the House on March 11 by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). The Families First Act attempts to address the economic and health impacts of coronavirus through free testing, funding for paid sick leave, and expanded unemployment benefits. Key provisions include:
- Free coronavirus testing, with no co-payments or deductibles.
- Emergency funding for health care infrastructure including $60 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs for veterans testing, $64 million to the Indian Health Services for testing members of Native American tribes, $1 billion to the National Disaster Medical System to cover the cost of testing for those without health insurance, and increases federal payments for state Medicaid by 6.2%.
- Paid-leave benefits that requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide two weeks worth of paid sick leave. Employers will receive tax credits to offset these costs.
- $1 billion in state grants to cover the payment of unemployment insurance.
- $1 billion in nutrition assistance for those who do not have access to food. Half of this amount will go directly to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Households may be eligible for food security assistance if their child's school has been closed for more than five consecutive days.
The rollout of this bill will begin immediately. Agencies receiving federal funding as allocated by the Families First Act must provide reports on how the money has been used within the next month.
The Department of
Labor has released fact sheets on how FFCRA affects employees
as well as answers to some common
questions as guidance for businesses affected by COVID-19.
- Watch the March 30 GCSAA Town Hall for more information on H.R. 6201.
- The DOL has issued guidance on two new refundable payroll tax credits.
- The DOL Wage and Hour Division published additional guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including two new posters, information on posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing the agency’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act - H.R. 748 (Relief Bill #3)
The Senate unanimously passed an approximately $2.2 trillion stimulus package late Wednesday night (March 26) in an effort to jumpstart an economy decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is not even a stimulus package. It is emergency relief. Emergency relief. That’s what this is,” Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday afternoon ahead of the vote.
Highlights from the bill include:
- Expanded unemployment benefits designed to fully replace the lost wages of jobless individuals for four months, including those not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Rebate payments up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for joint tax filers.
- A refundable payroll tax credit for 50 percent of the first $10,000 in wages paid by an employer facing closure or severe hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- $500 billion in loans for affected industries to be distributed by the Treasury Department, including $58 billion to the airline industry.
- $150 billion in funding for state and local governments, $100 billion for health care providers, and other significant streams of funding
- Expanded access to Small Business Administration loans of up to $10 million, which can be fully forgiven under certain circumstances.
The U.S. House passed the bill on March 27 by a voice vote, and then President Trump signed the bill into law.
The U.S. Chamber released new resources for businesses seeking relief under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:
- An updated small business loan guide to help small businesses, independent contractors, gig economy workers and other qualifying individuals prepare to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the CARES Act. Beginning April 3, small businesses will be eligible to apply for the loans described in the guide.
- An interactive map ;to show the small business aid available on a state-by-state basis.
- A guide on the CARES Act’s expansion on the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which includes $10,000 grants for eligible applicants.
- A guide explaining the employee retention tax credit for employers for whom the coronavirus resulted in closings, partial closings, or significant revenue losses.