On Monday, Senate Republicans unveiled their COVID-19 relief bill. If adopted, the bill will cost taxpayers $1 trillion, which is far less than the $3 trillion HEROES Act the Democratic House passed in May. The Republican Senate bill will include business liability protections, direct payments of $1,200 to individuals, new Paycheck Protection Program funds, and federal unemployment payments of $200 per week. It is worth noting that the Paycheck Protection Program provisions will only allow businesses with fewer than 300 employees that have seen revenues fall by more than 50% to apply for a second round of aid. The Republican Senate and Democratic House will only have until the end of next week to try and hammer out a bill prior to the Senate’s August recess.
The inspector general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be reviewing the agency’s rollback of federal auto emissions standards. The inspector general will determine whether the EPA followed federal regulatory requirements when the EPA along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revised auto emissions standards by only requiring 1.5% annual increases in fuel efficiency through 2026, which is a dramatic departure from the Obama administration’s rules requiring 5% annual improvements through 2025. The inspector general’s review comes after Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Tom Carper (D-DE) called for the emission rollback to be reviewed.
ARA is pleased to announce the nomination of professional automotive recycler Nick Daurio of Daurio Auto Truck Inc. in Pueblo, Colorado to ARA’s Executive Committee. Nick will serve as the Executive Committee’s Secretary for 2020-2021. In the press release announcing Nick’s nomination, ARA’s Executive Director Sandy Blalock stated that “Nick like many of our members literally grew up working in his multi-generational family business… and his insights from many years of experience working in our industry will be an asset to the leadership and members of ARA.” For the full press release please click here.
ARA’s Board of Directors recently adopted an update to the association’s Strategic Plan, which will represent ARA’s current and future work. ARA's Strategic Plan is grounded in the Association's mission to advance the automotive recycling industry and promote its beneficial effects on society. The Strategic Plan identifies four strategic initiatives that are the means through which ARA plans to translate its vision into practice.
The strategic initiatives focus on branding, non-dues revenue, government advocacy, and education/certification/compliance. 2020 has been a game changer,” said ARA President, Scott Robertson. “During these challenging times and given the unprecedented impact that a global pandemic is having on all businesses and industries, the direction outlined in this Strategic Plan will help ARA continue to move forward. A lot of planning and strategic thought went into this document, designed to promote the professional automotive recyclers and their businesses for many years to come.” For the full press release please click here.
Last week at the Collision Industry Conference, a hot topic of conversation was that CARFAX has been getting vehicle repair estimate data. As of now, there is a leakage of vehicle repair estimate data somewhere in the supply chain. CCC, Mitchell, and PartsTrader have all come out and stated that they are not the source of the leak. The Society of Collision Repair Specialists is trying to find out the source of the leak.
On Monday, the Senate returned from recess and the GOP is rushing to put together and pass a COVID-19 relief bill prior to the August recess. The Senate’s proposal is estimated to cost around $1.3 trillion, which is substantially less than the $3 trillion HEROES ACT passed by the Democratic house in May. However, the Republican party is divided on what should be included in a new relief bill. President Trump and Republican leadership are at odds on issues such as a payroll tax cut and funding for COVID-19 testing but are united on business liability protections and a second round of stimulus checks.
COVID-19 Relief Programs:
The Senate is considering legislation that would grant Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers automatic forgiveness if they received less than $150,000 from the Small Business Administration (SBA) program. Senate Bill S.4117 has bipartisan support in the Senate and would give borrowers the ability to have their PPP loans automatically forgiven (if they received less than $150,000) so long as the borrower submits a one-page form affirming that they complied with SBA loan requirements. The proposal gained further support earlier this week when Treasury Secretary Mnuchin told members of Congress that they should consider passing legislation that would automatically forgive many PPP loans. Furthermore, the American Bankers Association, which represents the U.S. Banking industry, has been aggressively lobbying congress to support the bill’s passage. While the legislation may not pass as a stand-alone bill, it is likely that S.4117’s provisions will be a part of a larger COVID-19 relief bill.
Earlier this month, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) supplemented its prior COVID-19 guidance with an additional FAQ. While OSHA has not yet published a regulation that would mandate workplace protections, this FAQ serves as a good resource for businesses to learn about how to best protect employees and customers.
According to the Certified Collateral Corporation (CCC), repairable vehicle appraisals are down 25.7% of June 2019 numbers. While these numbers show a positive increase from May’s numbers, it is unknown as to whether the spike in COVID-19 cases in July will cause Americans to once again reduce the amount of vehicle traffic.
Last week, ARA participated in the Suppliers Partnership for the Environment 3rd Quarter Meeting. Suppliers Partnership is a forum for those involved in the automotive value chain to collaborate on cutting edge industry issues such as sustainability and electric vehicle batteries.
￼Paycheck Protection Program:
Prior to leaving town for the July 4th holiday, the House and Senate passed a bill that allows the Small Business Administration (SBA) to continue issuing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans until August 8th. The bill was signed into law by President Trump last week. Prior to the enactment of the bill, the PPP was set to stop issuing loans on June 30th. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that $130 billion allocated for the PPP remained unspent, Congress decided to allow the SBA to continue issuing loans. To apply for a PPP loan click here.
The Senate will be in recess until July 20th, which means a new COVID-19 relief bill will not be enacted until late July or early August. This means the Senate will only have three weeks to pass a bill prior to the August recess. The House of Representatives is still in session and will be working on appropriations bills.
If your business is still looking for COVID-19 relief click here for a list of state and local loans available to businesses. In addition, ARA’s website contains a spreadsheet containing COVID-19 Relief Resources for Small and Medium Businesses.
On July 1, the Consumer Access to Repair (CAR) Coalition formally launched. The coalition, whose members include LKQ Corp., Allstate, Certified Automotive Parts Association, and the Automotive Body Parts Association, has called on Congress to explore expanded consumer choice over personal vehicle data. The CAR Coalition urged members of Congress to oppose automakers’ call to impose a five-year federal preemption on any state taking action on the sharing of telematics data. By opposing automakers’ request, Congress would be supporting consumer choice and would allow consumers to have greater access to less expensive replacement vehicle parts.
According to data released by INRIX, vehicle traffic in the United States has rebounded to at least 90% of pre-pandemic levels. It is also possible that vehicle traffic will continue to increase to levels higher than before the pandemic due to people staying away from public transportation.
U.S. light vehicle sales declined by 33.8% in Q2 2020 from Q2 2019. However, used car sales have jumped to 17% above pre-pandemic forecasts in June. Observers have attributed the spike in used car sales on a shortage of new vehicle inventory, favorable interest rates, and the overall cost savings associated with buying a used vehicle.
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FOR MORE IMPORTANT INFORMATION, VISIT ARA's COVID-19 DASHBOARD