House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is currently working to build consensus surrounding a new coronavirus relief bill amongst House Democrats. Politico reports the House’s bill could cost upwards of $2 trillion dollars with a vote taking place later this week.
Democratic senators have proposed paying Americans $2,000 each month until the economic crisis subsides. While this proposal has a small likelihood of being included in the Senate’s coronavirus relief bill, Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) has expressed a desire to have the government subsidize employers’ payrolls. Therefore, it will be worth watching whether additional relief to individuals will be included in the next relief bill.
The IRS revised guidance related to the employee retention credit. The IRS will now permit businesses to benefit from the tax break if they are only paying health benefits but not wages for employees. The IRS states in its FAQ, “Eligible Employers may treat health plan expenses allocable to the applicable periods as qualified wages even if the employees are not working and the Eligible Employer does not pay the employees any wages for the time they are not working.”
U.S. automakers General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., are planning to resume production starting on May 18th. The Detroit based automakers had shut their factories in late March due to fears of the coronavirus. To help its dealer network and jumpstart new car sales, Ford is offering its dealers free, custom commercials. Additionally, both Ford and GM have developed manufacturing “playbooks” to help create safe workplaces for their employees.
On Saturday, Tesla filed a lawsuit against California’s Alameda County after health officials in the area prohibited Tesla from restarting manufacturing last Friday. CEO Elon Musk also threatened to move the company out of California if he could not restart manufacturing. Surprisingly, on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin weighed in and agreed with Musk. Mnuchin stated, “I agree with Elon Musk. He’s one of the biggest employers and manufacturers in California, and California should prioritize doing whatever they need to do to solve those health issues so that he can open quickly and safely.”