Legislative Updates

January 25, 2021

#RallyForRecovery Advocates for Putting Employees Back to Work

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is making another push to urge lawmakers to support COVID-19 recovery legislation.

The latest effort asks businesses to send a letter to their congressional representatives asking them to turbocharge vaccination efforts, pass a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package and address the country’s workforce challenges, including working training programs and fixing the immigration system. FEDA members interested in signing on to the letter may do so by visiting this page.

Additionally, the Chamber has created the hashtag #RallyForRecovery and the 2021 State of American Business Toolkit to help businesses reach lawmakers on social media.

At the recent 2021 State of American Business address, U.S. Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue said: “Working together, we can recover and rebuild, we can reform what’s broken, we can reaffirm our leadership, and we can renew the American promise of equal opportunity for all… Let’s go do it.”
 

January 25, 2021

Organization Urges New Administration to Engage Distributors

On Friday, Jan. 22, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors delivered a letter to President Joe Biden outlining the wholesale distribution industry’s capabilities and its commitment to working with the new administration to distribute vaccines, lifesavings treatments, personal protective equipment, and materials, goods, and services necessary to combat COVID-19 and keep Americans safe.

“NAW and its members recommend that the federal government engage the entire distribution sector and bring to bear the full logistics expertise and customer reach of our industry to ensure Americans across the country gain access to critical vaccines and other interventions,” the letter said. “As such we urge your administration to engage distributors in connectivity conversations with CDC now, to ensure the system is activated and ready to scale distribution in partnership with pharmacies and hospitals around the country as soon as possible.”

The full letter is available here.
 

January 18, 2021

Coalition Formed to Advocate for Infrastructure Package by Independence Day

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has announced a new initiative – titled Build by the Fourth of July – which calls on Congress to enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package that stimulates the economy by July 4, 2021. The initiative is in partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-D.C. based think tank that strives to combine ideas from both major political parties to promote health, security, and opportunity ­for all Americans.

This coalition brings together a diverse group of organizations including the North America’s Building Trades Unions, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, as well as other leading business, policy and labor organizations as we expand upon work from a broad coalition of transportation and infrastructure groups, with an emphasis on building new partnerships to address our nation’s infrastructure needs.

According to the coalition, comprehensive infrastructure legislation should:

  • Repair and update the nation’s crumbling infrastructure
  • Stimulate the economy and create middle-class sustaining jobs
  • Address climate change
  • Promote fiscally and environmentally friendly policies
  • Improve federal project approvals
  • Address the digital divide

“Our long-term economic recovery requires building a governing coalition committed to bipartisan solutions, and tackling a long overdue infrastructure package is an immediate way the new Congress and new administration can demonstrate their shared commitment to the betterment of the country,” said U.S. Chamber CEO Tom Donohue. “Rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure is not only one of the fastest and most direct ways to create new jobs and spur economic growth now, but also it will sustain our modern economy for the long-term. The coalition members may not agree on every issue or detail, but we understand the importance of working together for the greater good of the American people. We strongly urge policymakers to do the same and enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package as one of their first priorities.”

To elevate infrastructure as a priority, the U.S. Chamber is mobilizing businesses to secure commitments from legislators to enact a bill into law by the next Independence Day. Businesses that wish to join the effort can do so at this link.

“National infrastructure investment is the best idea that never happens. Congress must seize this opportunity to jump start our economy, repair aging systems, and advance the modern technologies needed to confront climate change.” Said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
 

January 11, 2021

Guide Designed to Help Businesses Navigate PPP Process

With the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) resuming today, Jan. 11, businesses interested in applying for a second round of forgivable COVID-19 relief should be aware of the eligibility rules and application process. To educate organizations, the National Restaurant Association has put together a seven-page PPP User Manual that details who may apply for a PPP loan, how much relief is available, when applications open for first-time and second-time borrowers, and how businesses can maximize their loan forgiveness.

Notably, applications for first draw PPP loans begin today, while businesses that previously received a PPP loan may apply for a second draw starting Wednesday, Jan. 13. All loans will be handled by community financial institutions and the  PPP is expected to open to participating lenders later this week.

To view the full NRA guide to PPP loans, please visit this page.
 

January 6, 2021

Summary Covers PPP and Other Program Updates

With the new $900 billion COVID-19 relief package signed into law at the end of December, businesses are beginning to look deeper into the aid and resources available to them. Jade West, chief government relations officer for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, has developed a summary of key provisions in the bill, although the implementation of some pieces of the package will depend on the Small Business Administration regulations that are expected to be issued in early January. In the meantime, the following information will help FEDA members prepare their applications for aid and better understand the restrictions and requirements of the new relief bill.

Business-Friendly Provisions

  • Extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with full deductibility of covered expenses
  • Expansion of PPP allowable expenses (see detailed list at end of document)
  • Repeal of the law requiring an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant to be deducted from the forgivable amount of a PPP loan
  • Removal of the barrier between PPP and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC), now allowing a business to obtain a PPP loan and take the ERTC as long as the funds aren’t used for to pay for the same salaries/expenses
  • Extension of ERTC to second quarter of 2021, and an increase in the credit (more below)
  • Extension of the tax credit for providing emergency paid sick or Family Medical leave but NOT the mandate that leave be provided

PPP Information and Eligibility Requirements

  • $284 billion in additional funding for the PPP
  • The business must have 300 or fewer employees
  • The business must have experienced at least a 25 percent reduction in revenues in at least one quarter in 2020 when compared to the same quarter in 2019
  • The maximum amount available for a second-draw PPP loan is 2.5 times the business’ monthly payroll costs up to $2 million
  • Borrowers are required to spend at least 60 percent of funds on payroll to qualify for full forgiveness
  • Full deductibility of allowed expenses was restored
  • Salaries are capped at $100,000 for computing loan amounts
  • Payroll includes Group life, disability, vision and dental insurance
  • Payroll does NOT include 1099 workers or contractors, just W2 employees
  • The amount of an EIDL advance no longer has to be deducted from loan forgiveness amount
  • PPP borrowers are now eligible for the ERTC provided the funds aren’t used to cover the same costs/payroll

Newly Covered Expenses for PPP Borrowers

  • Covered operations expenditures: These are payments for any business software or cloud computing service that facilitates business operations, product or service delivery, the processing of payment, or tracking of payroll expenses, human resources, sales and billing functions, or accounting or tracking of supplies, inventory, records and expenses.
  • Covered property damage costs: These are costs related to property damage and vandalism or looting due to public disturbances that occurred during 2020 that were not covered by insurance or other compensation.
  • Covered supplier costs: These expenditures were made to a supplier and were a) essential to the operations of the entity at the time the expenditures was made and b) made pursuant to a contract or purchase order in effect any time before the covered period or, for perishable goods, any time during the covered period.

ERTC Changes

  • Increases the credit rate from 50 percent to 70 percent of qualified wages
  • Expands eligibility for the credit by reducing the required year-over-year gross receipts decline from 50 to 20 percent and provides a safe harbor allowing employees to use prior quarter gross receipts to determine eligibility
  • Increases limit on per-employee wages from $10K for the year to $10k per quarter
  • Increases 100-employee delineation for determining qualified wage base to employers with 500 or fewer employees
  • Retroactive to effective date included in Section 2301 of the CARES Act
  • Clarifies determination of gross receipts for certain tax-exempt orgs
  • Clarifies that group health plan expenses can be considered qualified wages even when no other wages are paid to the employee
 
December 21, 2020

FEDA Working with National Advocacy Groups on Stimulus Information

Congressional leaders appear to have reached an agreement on legislation that combines $900 billion in COVID-19 relief with a $1.4 trillion spending bill that will keep the government open.

The text of the bill had not been released as of Monday morning, Dec. 21, but legislators are expected to vote on it today.

FEDA is working with its national advocacy groups on final information about the proposed COVID-19 stimulus package and will send an update to members later today.

An Associated Press summary of the agreement can be read here.
 

December 18, 2020

Urge Your Legislators to Allow PPP Deductions

Summarized from Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

Negotiations continue on a new COVID-19 relief package, but an agreement has not been reached on some significant issues. Among the outstanding issues is how to treat the deductibility of expenses paid with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. The business community in Washington D.C. has been fighting an aggressive battle with some on Capitol Hill wanting to limit the deductibility to businesses that took out very small loans. If not that specific policy, we are told that “some compromise” will be in the final legislation, meaning that some PPP borrowers will not be able to deduct PPP-paid expenses.

We are arguing – emphatically – that all PPP borrowers who maintained payroll, especially through the grim first few months of the pandemic, should be entitled to the protections of the language of the CARES Act enacted in March. Nonetheless,  arguments are being made that deductibility should be denied to some PPP borrowers, presumably borrowers of larger loans. The statute made no distinction between the size of the loans when it mandated that all PPP proceeds are to be non-taxed income. Clearly, denying deductibility of PPP-paid expenses of ANY employers makes that part of the loan taxable.

If you are a PPP borrower, please call your Representatives and Senators NOW to tell them to enforce the law for ALL employers, not just some. Congress should not be picking winners and losers among the employers who all played by the rules. Tell them how many jobs you protected with your PPP loan and why a tax increase is both unfair and a threat to your business and your workers.

You can reach every office on Capitol Hill by dialing 202-224-3121 and asking for the office of your senators and representatives. Congress is in session now and that is the fastest way to make your voice heard. To find your U.S. representative and his or her contact information, visit house.gov/representatives and enter your home zip code in the top right corner. For your U.S. senators, visit senate.gov and click on the “Find Your Senators” by state dropdown menu in the top left corner.

There are multiple moving parts to the effort to get a new COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and signed by the president. This report is current as we write it, but the situation is very fluid and changing fast. We will keep you updated as the process moves forward.
 
December 14, 2020

Dan Schuberth and William Inman Tapped to Build on NAW’s Foundation

The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) announced the additions of Dan Schuberth as chief business development officer and William Inman as chief public affairs officer for communications and advocacy to its senior leadership team. The newly created positions will report to NAW President and CEO Eric Hoplin.

“As we position NAW for the future, I am excited to welcome two talented leaders who will help bring our organization to new heights in the coming years,” Hoplin said. “Dan and William are important additions that will help us build on NAW’s incredible foundation so that we may continue to be a leading voice for the wholesale distribution industry.”

In his new role as chief business development officer, Schuberth will be responsible for the development and execution of strategic plans to support organizational growth. Schuberth is an experienced operations and human resource management leader with an intimate understanding of the distribution industry. He spent the last 12 years serving in finance, sales, physical distribution, and human resource leadership roles with McMaster-Carr, one of the oldest and largest industrial supply distribution companies in the United States.

As chief public affairs officer, Inman will build out NAW’s communications, marketing, and advocacy efforts. He most recently served as vice president for external relations at Wells Fargo, managing the company’s relationships with trade groups, think tanks, and advocacy groups while building coalitions and running public affairs campaigns. Previously, Inman served in leadership roles with high profile campaigns and national advocacy groups across the country, overseeing nationwide, multi-million-dollar issue advocacy campaigns and managing communications, digital, and political efforts.