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House Democrats Likely to Pass $2.2 Trillion COVID Bill

It includes PPP funding for all 501(c) organizations

Barring a last-minute deal with the administration, House Democrats are likely to approve a $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief package today without Republican support before leaving Washington to run for reelection. The House bill, a slimmed-down version of the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act that the House passed in May, includes a provision to expand eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to include all Section 501(c) organizations – which has been the American Society of Association Executives' (ASAE) top legislative ask for months.

However, the bill text includes conditions for all PPP applicants that would apply a 10-percent eligibility threshold for lobbying, meaning that if an association lobbies at the federal, state or local level, it may be ineligible for a PPP loan. This language is similar to a Senate proposal introduced over the summer that ASAE identified as harmful and counter-productive to Congress’s goal of speeding assistance to businesses and associations struggling through a months-long pandemic.

The bill also includes a number of other provisions that ASAE has called for, including a second round of PPP loans for employers with 200 or fewer employees that can demonstrate sufficient loss in gross receipts; an expanded and clarified Economic Injury Disaster Loan program; and a significantly expanded Employee Retention Tax Credit.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had a long meeting yesterday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss a bipartisan agreement on coronavirus aid but told House Democrats today that the two sides are still at odds on the size of the bill and several contrasting priorities. Democrats want a child tax credit and additional funding for state and local governments in the bill, and Republicans are insisting on liability protections for businesses, schools and nonprofits.

“We come from two different places,” Pelosi told reporters. “Hopefully we can find our common ground on this and do so soon.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin were scheduled to talk again today, and Pelosi said House action on a bill today would not signal the end of negotiations with the administration.

“It just says, you asked, here’s what it is,” Pelosi added. “This is how we came down.”

Senate Republicans have given no indication they would be willing to entertain the latest House bill, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told POLITICO he hopes continued talks will result in a bipartisan relief package.

“Well, I’m wishing them well,” McConnell said. “Obviously, we’ve been trying repeatedly to get a bill out of the Senate including one that also included, interestingly enough, pre-existing condition coverage where all but one [Republican] voted for it and none of [the Democrats] did. So I’d like to see another rescue package. We’ve been trying for months to get there.”

This article was provided to OSAE by the Power of A and ASAE's Inroads.

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