Following two failed procedural votes on Sunday and Monday, the Senate was able to come to an agreement overnight on details of a vast $2 trillion relief package, called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill provides checks directly to many individual taxpayers, provides additional loan support and funding for small businesses (via the Small Business Administration), creates tax breaks for businesses and individuals impacted during this crisis and assures that food insecure Americans, including students who count on free and reduced meals at school, will have SNAP benefits. A summary of the spending portion of the bill is here and a summary of the tax and business provisions is here. In spite of last-minute concerns over language related to expanded unemployment benefits, the bill passed late Wednesday by a vote of 96-0.
Earlier this week, on the other side of the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced a competing bill backed by House Democrats, the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act. The Speaker issued a statement on the Senate package on Wednesday conveying lukewarm support, but it is expected the House will easily and quickly pass the bill.
House leadership is currently considering ways to pass the bill without calling Members back to Washington, and the Senate has adjourned until April 20. There is already discussion of the next round of legislation to provide relief and support for Americans dealing with the health and economic aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. The first three tranches are increasingly being viewed as emergency measures, and the next efforts undertaken by Congress will provide economic stimulus as we move through the next phases of the crisis.
Small Business Administration Resources
A webinar on resources available through the Small Business Administration is planned for 2:00 PM ET on Friday, March 27, 2020. CDA members can register here.
Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Expansion
The Department of Labor (DOL) has already published fact sheets, FAQs and guidance on implementation of the emergency expansion of FMLA in the Phase 2 coronavirus legislation.
The DOL is hosting a national online dialogue, Providing Expanded Family and Medical Leave to Employees Affected by COVID-19, to help employers and workers understand their responsibilities and rights, respectively, under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). CDA members can sign up for the ongoing event by registering here. The forum will be available through March 29, 2020.
The Convenience Distribution Association (CDA) is the trade organization working on behalf of convenience products distributors in the United States. Its distributor members represent more than $102 billion in U.S convenience product sales, serving a wide variety of small retail formats. Associate members include leading convenience product manufacturers, brokers, retailers, suppliers and others allied to the industry.