Congress Close to Refunding Programs
The U.S. Congress and the Administration are still grappling with approval of an additional COVID-19 economic relief package and may be closing in on a compromise. At this point in time the measure includes $300 billion in additional funds for small business loans program, $50 billion for a disaster loans program for small businesses, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for testing. The total package may top $400 billion.
In terms of federal guidance for the reopening of the government and testing, Republicans and Democrats are also disagreeing about who should handle the issue. Many Republicans and the Administration say that states and the private sector should handle testing while Democrats think that the federal government should “nationalize” the distribution of tests.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice allowing temporary procedures for the fax filing of Forms 1139 and 1045 – claims for quick refunds of a credit for prior year minimum tax liability of corporations and net operating loss deductions. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous means of filing these reports was by hard copy but the CARES Act allows for the faxing of these documents. The fax numbers and more details are provided in this link.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) further revised its list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce and added auto dealers to the list. Other segments of the auto supply chain such as the repair sector had previously been included in this federal guidance. States and localities make their own determinations but many states have used the CISA guidelines. The actual new language is as follows:
“Workers critical to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, rental, leasing, repair, and maintenance of vehicles and other transportation equipment (including electric vehicle charging stations) and the supply chains that enable these operations to facilitate continuity of travel-related operations for essential workers."
The Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced relief to employers who are unable to fulfill certain annual testing, inspection, training or auditing due to the pandemic. The stipulation is that “the employer [make] good faith efforts to comply with applicable OSHA standards and, in situations where compliance was not possible, to ensure that employees were not exposed to hazards from tasks, processes or equipment for which they were not prepared or trained.” Some examples of the areas of testing and training include respirator fit testing and training and construction crane operator certification. For the entire OSHA memorandum, click here.