March 24, 2020
Third coronavirus bill remains stalled in the Senate—votes are possible on Tuesday
Since the cloture votes on the third coronavirus (COVID-19) stimulus package failed last Friday and Monday, Senate Republicans and Democrats have been frantically negotiating. According to news sources, Senators are close on a deal. Outstanding issues included details for direct cash payments to individuals; employee and employee support and protections, suspension of payroll taxes; aid to airlines and other struggling industries. To read more, click here or here.
Concurrently, yesterday U.S. House of Representatives Democrats have introduced their own $2.5 trillion aid package entitled “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” (H.R. 6379). To read the bill, click here. To read a summary of the bill, click here
Water Supply Rule is officially withdrawn
On March 24, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) notice to withdraw the “Use of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoir Projects for Domestic, Municipal & Industrial Water Supply” (known as the Water Supply Rule) was published in the Federal Register. The Water Supply Rule, originally proposed by the Corps on December 16, 2016, was intended to clarify agency policy on reservoirs. However, after states and other entities expressed concerns that the policy overturned states authority, The Corps announced earlier this year that the proposed rule would be withdrawn. To read the withdrawal notice, click here.
Department of Labor working on guidance for paid sick time exemptions
On March 18, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.
6201/ P.L. 116) which included two weeks of paid sick leave for employees of businesses with between 50–500 employees. These businesses will be able to claim a tax credit on their taxes. For businesses under 50 employees, there is a caveated exemption, which will be defined by the Department of Labor (DOL) (expected in April 2020). This provision also applies to public sector employees but without the tax credit. For more information, click here or here.
Administration releases list of industries considered ‘critical’ during coronavirus
On March 19, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released a memorandum on “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce” which follows President Trump’s “Coronavirus Guidance for America” on critical employees within infrastructure industry. Those industries considered “critical” during the coronavirus pandemic includes chemical, commercial facilities, communications, critical manufacturing, dams, defense industrial base, emergency services, energy, financial, food and agriculture, government facilities healthcare and public health, information technology, nuclear, transportation systems and water. To read about the types of essential workers in each category, click here to read the memo.