Last week administration officials continued to iron out issues with the PPP’s rollout, and now major banks are operating online portals for applications and the SBA continues to approve new lenders for the program daily. Additionally, the U.S. Treasury authorized digital payment platforms to give PPP loans, and PayPal became the first non-bank institution authorized to distribute loans.

 

As of this morning, 834,404 loans have been approved under the PPP, totaling $206 billion.

 

Last week also saw a failed attempt by Senate Republicans to authorize an additional $251 billion for the program, which is set to run out of funds this week, after Democrats blocked the proposal while pushing for additional funding for hospitals, states and local communities. The White House has stated its opposition to the Democrats proposal and Republican Leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy issued a joint statement on the need for additional PPP funds over the weekend, rejecting Democrats requests, while Democratic Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer issued a new statement this morning highlighting their concerns and sticking to their demands.

 

The Senate and House remain out of town for at least another week until April 20, and Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, who forced members back into town to pass the CARES Act, has again pledged to call for a floor vote and force members back to town if another package is agreed on by Congressional leadership.

 

Associations and organizations representing small businesses, including ABC, are also advocating for further expansion of the PPP program to include 501(c)(6) non-profits, expand past the 8-week payroll coverage, and further assist small businesses. We will continue to provide critical updates on any progress made on these priorities.

 

In the midst of the PPP dilemma, the National Governors Association, led by Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan, outlined the need for $500 billion from the federal government to states to meet budgetary shortfalls caused by the health crisis.

 

OSHA Issues New Guidance on the Recordability of COVID-19 Cases:

On April 10, OSHA clarified its position regarding the recordability of COVID-19 cases under its recordkeeping rules. According to the OSHA press release, “In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, employers other than those in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations (e.g., emergency medical, firefighting and law enforcement services), and correctional institutions may have difficulty making determinations about whether workers who contracted COVID-19 did so due to exposures at work. Accordingly, until further notice, OSHA will not enforce its recordkeeping requirements to require these employers to make work-relatedness determinations for COVID-19 cases, except where: (1) There is objective evidence that a COVID-19 case may be work-related; and (2) The evidence was reasonably available to the employer. Employers of workers in the healthcare industry, emergency response organizations and correctional institutions must continue to make work-relatedness determinations pursuant to 29 CFR Part 1904.” Read ABC’s statement on the new guidance as well as ABC general counsel, Littler Mendelson’s analysis.

 

 

State and Local Updates:

 

Vermont Governor Phil Scott has extended the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Order, which was originally set to expire on April 15, through May 15. The order also extends the expiration date of all other corresponding orders, including Addendum 6 which outlines that the only construction permitted to continue in the state is ” construction necessary to support the COVID-19 response and maintain critical infrastructure.” More information on the announcement can be found here.

 

ABC continues to update this resource tracking state and local COVID-19 policies impacting the construction industry. If a new or amended state or local policy is issued in your chapter territory, please alert Brandon, Nick and/or Ben on our State Affairs team at [email protected].