ABC-VA Blog

From monthly archives: December 2020

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'December 2020'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

ABC Legislative & Political Update: Trump Opposes COVID Deal, and Update on 501(c)(6)s

Trump Throws Wrench into COVID Deal:

 

After months of impasse and weeks of negotiating to get a final COVID relief package approved by Congress and with the assumed approval of the White House, President Trump, after a COVID relief/Omnibus package passed both the House and Senate with large bipartisan support, threw a wrench in the game stating his opposition to the package while calling for additional relief checks for individuals and removing portions of the spending bill. Some of the spending Trump has objected to so far has been spending that his own budget supported.

 

This latest change in tune from the president comes at a time when he is upset with Republicans that have abandoned his pursuit to overturn the November election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has acknowledged Biden as the President-elect while attempting to tamp down efforts from Republicans in Congress to object to the electoral college results on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump also recently lashed out at the Senate’s #2 Republican Sen. John Thune, who stated efforts to object to the electoral college and challenge Biden’s win would go down like a shot dog.

 

It is unclear the path the Trump’s last ditch efforts to change the bill could take. He has not explicitly said he would veto the legislation, but if he does, and does so quickly, Congress could vote to override. However, Trump could also issue a pocket veto — a timeframe that would make it impossible for lawmakers to override before the new Congress starts. Pocket vetoes occur when the President receives a bill but is unable to reject and return the bill to an adjourned Congress within the 10-day period. The bill, though lacking a signature and formal objections, does not become law. Pocket vetoes are not subject to the congressional veto override process. As the package hasn’t been presented to Trump yet and is expected to take days to enroll, with the end of the 116th Congress coming on Jan. 3, it appears too late at this time to prevent a pocket veto and the new Congress would have to address the issue.

 

With government funding expiring on Dec. 28, the question for now is does Trump veto the bill, cave and sign the relief and spending bill into law, or does he allow the government to shut down and prevent emergency aid from being doled out to millions of Americans and businesses in need?

 

Trumps recently stated opposition also poses a problem for Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who supported the legislation and face extremely tough runoff elections in January.

 

The House is set to return to Washington on December 28 to override the president’s recent veto of the bipartisan Defense authorization bill, and could also vote on a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown and additional funding to provide $2,000 checks to Americans.

 

501(c)(6) Update:

 

As stated in previous emails, the COVID relief package, which is now up in the air, 501(c)6 organizations would be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans under the new deal. However, the devil is in the details of this new eligibility. Under the bill, a 501(c)(6) organization is eligible for PPP loans if:

  • The organization does not receive more than 15 percent of receipts from lobbying activities;
  • The lobbying activities do not comprise more than 15 percent of the organization’s total activities;
  • The cost of lobbying activities of the organization did not exceed $1,000,000 during the most recent tax year that ended prior to February 15, 2020; and
  • The organization has 300 or fewer employees.

 

While this eligibility is outlined in the bill, the bill’s language is vague and lacks critical guidance needed to ensure compliance and eligibility for ABC state and local chapters. It is critical, that if this bill is signed into law, the SBA and Treasury should issue appropriate guidance, particularly on how to measure “receipts from lobbying” and “lobbying activities.” ABC is concerned that our chapters could remain locked out of the PPP despite dedicating modest resources to lobby the government, and additional guidance on these issues is critical to ensure consistent, fair and inclusive application of these eligibility requirements.

 

Some potential guidance for SBA and Treasury to issue would be:

  1. Clearly define 501(c)(6) nonprofits “receipts from lobbying” as revenue generated by the nonprofit for the express purpose of financing lobbying activities;
  2. Define “lobbying activities” as having the same meaning as set forth under the Lobbying Disclosure Act; and
  3. Clarify that the timeframe parameters for the third criterion (the most recent tax year that ended prior to February 15, 2020) should also be used as the period for measuring the organization’s percentages of expenditures and receipts relating to “lobbying activities” under the first two criteria.

 

ABC will continue to work to address this issue and will potentially hold a webinar to discuss ways forward on critical guidance, depending on the president’s actions towards the COVID legislation over the coming weeks.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID Deal, 501c6 PPP Eligiblity, Omnibus, Georgia Special Election Briefing, & EEOC Vaccine Guidance

Congress Reaches COVID Deal:

The House and Senate last night passed a more than 5000 page bill providing COVID relief, annual funding for government agencies and several end of year provisions that members of Congress were able to attach in what is the last major legislation of the 116th Congress. The entire package is estimated at more than $2 trillion and now heads to the President for signature.

You may view a section by section summary of the COVID relief section of the bill here, and an overview of the small business provisions of the relief here.

For a summary of the appropriations section view here, and for other provisions included in the bill here.

Among some of the most critical wins that ABC advocated for in the bill are the full deductibility of PPP loans, expansion of PPP loans to 501(c)6 organizations, and extension and expansion of the employee retention tax credit. Notably missing, however, is the liability protections for businesses operating through the pandemic, which ABC continues to advocate for.

 

501(c)6 PPP Requirements:

The new COVID relief provides eligibility of 501(c)(6) and Destination Marketing Organizations for Loans Under the Paycheck Protection Program. ABC is reviewing how this new eligibility will affect our state and local chapters and will provide information and any critical updates on PPP guidance from the Small Business Administration once the bill is signed into law.

 

Under the bill, eligibility to receive a Paycheck Protection Program loan is expanded to include 501(c)(6) organizations if:

  • The organization does not receive more than 15 percent of receipts from lobbying;
  • The lobbying activities do not comprise more than 15 percent of activities;
  • The cost of lobbying activities of the organization did not exceed $1,000,000 during the most recent tax year that ended prior to February 15, 2020 and
  • The organization has 300 or fewer employees.


The bill also contains a prohibition on Use of Loan Proceeds for Lobbying Activities, prohibiting any eligible entity from using proceeds of the covered loan for lobbying activities, as defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act, lobbying expenditures related to state or local campaigns, and expenditures to influence the enactment of legislation, appropriations, or regulations.

 

Georgia Special Election Update:

Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face an extremely tough runoff election and ABC has created helpful handouts for ABC members that feature side-by-side information on the two Senate races and the candidates’ stances on ABC priority issues.  The one-pagers and palm cards are attached for your review. You will find a featured QR code that will take your members to a webpage of the above primary contact handout that goes into further detail on what is at stake.
 

In addition to our chapter endorsements (view here), ABC PAC launched an independent expenditure this morning for both Sens. Perdue and Loeffler.  Information can be found on ABC’s home webpage: CLICK HERE!
 

ABC PAC and ABC members also contributed over $201,000 directly to the campaigns and the party committees that are supporting them. 

In addition, the Free Enterprise Alliance, an entity of ABC, has invested nearly half a million dollars in issue advocacy and get-out-the-vote activity.  Issue advocacy videos highlighting issues that impact Georgians, our families, and our business.  You can view FEA’s work by clicking here. the link below.

Finally, ABC is hosting a webinar on Monday, Jan. 4 at 1:00 p.m. EST to brief our members on the state of the Georgia races.  This webinar is open to any ABC member and there is no cost to register. Click here to register for the webinar.

Also, please review the Georgia Special Election One Pager to learn how you can get involved today. 

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID Deal, Omnibus, Georgia Special Election Briefing, & EEOC Vaccine Guidance

12/21/20

Congress Reaches COVID Deal:

 

While talks continued through the weekend and additional stop gap funding legislation had to be passed, Congressional leaders along with the White House finally reached a deal on an additional $900 billion COVID relief package before the end of the year. The more than 5000 page bill also includes annual funding for government agencies and several end of year provisions that members of Congress were able to attach in what is the last major legislation of the 116th Congress. The entire package is estimated at more than $2 trillion and is set to pass tonight.  

 

Among some of the most critical wins that ABC advocated for in the bill are the full deductibility of PPP loans, expansion of PPP loans to 501(c)6 organizations, and extension and expansion of the employee retention tax credit. Notably missing, however, is the liability protections for businesses operating through the pandemic, which ABC continues to advocate for. Below is an overview of the critical provisions of the deal.

 

Direct relief for individuals: $286 billion

  • $300/week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) through March 14, 2021 and extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment
  • Compensation (PEUC) programs.
  • Direct checks of $600 for individuals making up to $75,000, checks of $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000, and $600 for each child dependent

 

Small business support: $325 billion

  • Extends and expands the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses by providing an additional $284 billion for forgivable loans:
    • Provides “second draw” for small businesses and non-profits with 300 or fewer employees that can demonstrate a loss of 25% of gross receipts in any quarter during 2020 when compared to the same quarter in 2019 totaling 2.5 times the average monthly payroll up to $2 million
    • Allows for small businesses in the restaurant and hospitality industries to receive larger awards of 3.5 times average total monthly payroll, rather than 2.5 times
    • Expands PPP eligibility for more critical access hospitals, local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters, housing cooperatives, and 501(c)(6) nonprofits, including tourism promotion organizations and local chambers of commerce
      • The organization does not receive more than 15 percent of receipts from lobbying;
      • The lobbying activities do not comprise more than 15 percent of total activities;
      • The cost of lobbying activities of the organization did not exceed $1,000,000 during the most recent tax year that ended prior to February 15, 2020; and
      • The organization has 300 or fewer employees
    • PPP loans will not be included in taxable income, and deductions are allowed for expenses paid with proceeds of a forgiven PPP loan with no restrictions
    • $20 billion is included for new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants for businesses in low income communities
    • $15 billion in funding for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and the creation of a new Neighborhood Capital Investment program
    • $15 billion in funding for entertainment venues, movie theaters, and museums that are experiencing significant revenue loss
    • $3.5 billion for continued SBA debt relief payments and $2 billion for enhancements to SBA lending.
  • Rescinds $429 billion in unused funds provided by the CARES Act for the Federal Reserve’s emergency lending facilities and terminates these facilities

 

Healthcare: $63 billion

  • Vaccine funding, including $20 billion to BARDA for procurement of vaccines and therapeutics, $9 billion to the CDC and states for vaccine distribution and $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile, including $300 million specifically directed to high risk and underserved areas for distribution
  • $22 billion, all sent directly to states, for testing, tracing and COVID mitigation programs.
  • Additional healthcare funding – $4.5 billion in mental health funding, $9 billion in support for health care providers, $1 billion for NIH to research COVID-19, and $1 billion in direct funds to the Indian Health Service

 

Education, childcare, and broadband: $99 billion

  • $82 billion in funding for schools and universities
  • $10 billion for grants to childcare centers to help providers safely reopen
  • $7 billion in broadband funding that includes
    • Nearly $2 billion to replace foreign manufactured broadband equipment that poses national security threats
    • $300 million to build out rural broadband
    • $250 million for telehealth

 

Housing and nutrition: $51 billion

  • $13 billion to increase SNAP benefits by 15% for six months, including $614 million for nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico and the territories
  • $25 billion in temporary and targeted rental assistance extension of the eviction moratorium until January 31, 2021
  • Provides funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, a program that serves over 700,000 older Americans monthly
  • $13 billion to support our farmers and agriculture sector
    • Enhances assistance under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to support specialty crop, non-specialty crop, livestock, dairy, and poultry producers
    • Gives discretionary authority to the Secretary to support producers of biofuels, producers of organics or value-added products, and timber harvesting and hauling businesses

 

Transportation: $45 billion

  • $45 billion in transportation funding, including $15 billion for airline payroll support, $1 billion for airline contractor payrolls, $14 billion for transit, $10 billion for state highways, $2 billion for airports and airport concessionaires, $2 billion for the private motorcoach, school bus, and ferry industries, and $1 billion for Amtrak.

 

Tax: $30 billion

  • Extends and expands the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) through July 1, 2021 including:
    • increasing the credit rate, from 50% to 70%;
    • Raises the limit on per-employee creditable wages from $10,000 for the year to $10,000 for each quarter;
    • Expands eligibility for the credit by reducing the required year-over-year decline in gross receipts from 50% to 20%; and
    • Modifies the threshold for treatment as a ‘large employer’ by increasing the 100-employee delineation for determining the relevant qualified wage base to employers with 500 or fewer employees.
  • Reinstate 100% business meals deduction through 2022
  • “Lookback” provision allowing lower-income individuals to use their earned income from tax year 2019 to determine the Earned Income Tax Credit and the refundable portion of the Child Tax Credit
  • Extension of paid sick and family leave, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provided a refundable payroll tax credit for the mandated paid sick and family leave. This legislation extends the tax credit through March 2021 for employers that continue to offer paid sick and family leave to their employees.
  • one-year extension of the $300 above-the-line-deduction for charitable giving and increasing the amount for 2021 that married couples filing jointly can deduct from $300 to $600

 

ABC Concerned Over Possible Davis-Bacon Provisions Folded Into Energy Sections of Appropriations Omnibus:

A long-awaited energy package focusing on renewable technologies and alternative energy sources has been included in the year-end omnibus appropriations package. The bill is a bicameral compromise piece of legislation that stemmed from two parallel bills in each chamber of Congress.

In September, the House passed the Clean Economy and Jobs Innovation Act (H.R. 4447), by close to party line vote. Ahead of the vote, ABC sent a key vote letter in opposition to the bill due to the several radical labor provisions in an en bloc amendment offered by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA-01) that included Davis-Bacon expansion, Project Labor Agreement mandates, the Obama-era Blacklisting rule on contractors, the state of California’s ABC Test for independent contractors, carving out industry recognized apprenticeship programs, and many ABC-opposed other provisions. Meanwhile, the Senate’s S. 2657 was never passed by the upper chamber, but was the subject of great debate due to the body’s Republican leadership. ABC commented on S. 2657, successfully urging the bipartisan bill sponsors to reject the radical labor provisions of H.R. 4447 referenced above in their negotiations.

The so-called “Labor Standards” section of 4447 that ABC staunchly opposed was also ultimately left out of the final version that was included in the appropriations Omnibus released today, as were more controversial provisions on increased building code standards. ABC supported an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) to strike the Davis Bacon provisions from S. 2657, ABC also expressed our concerns with the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage provisions of the negotiated bill and requested that the appropriations omnibus negotiators remove additional Davis-Bacon Act requirements in the final bill. However, after reviewing the final Omnibus bill text released this afternoon, Davis-Bacon requirements are included on 5 of the 26 energy sections created by the energy compromised bill.  

By referencing sections of Davis-Bacon related acts – in this case, section 602 of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 3212). On pages 1218-1219, the language is used to apply Davis-Bacon to five sections of the bill.

 

ABC is still reviewing the bill text to determine the size and scope of Davis-Bacon inclusion in the following sections: 3001. WATER POWER RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT; 3003. WIND ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT; 3004. SOLAR ENERGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT; 5001. CARBON REMOVAL; and 8007. TECHNOLOGY DEMONSTRATION ON THE DISTRIBUTION GRID.

 

Omnibus includes WRDA 2020:

 

The bicameral, bipartisan Water Resources Development Act of 2020 or WRDA 2020 has been included in the year end omnibus appropriations package. WRDA 2020 focuses on Army Corps of Engineers projects exclusively, authorizing 46 new water resource infrastructure projects. Notably - the bill does not include drinking water and clean water measures as the bills have done since 2014. Additionally, WRDA 2020 does not include many of the provisions from the previous Senate water infrastructure bill that was agreed to unanimously by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which ABC commented on.

 

ABC, as a member of the Waters Advocacy Coalition, was successful in working with House and Senate authorizers to ensure that burdensome National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting legislative changes were not included in WRDA 2020. For more details, the coalition letter can be read here.

 

Omnibus Includes Surprise Billing Fix:

 

Congress is set to include a hard-fought ban on “surprise” medical bills as part of a massive spending package that it will pass alongside its coronavirus relief legislation today. Key players in the fight reached an agreement more than a week ago on a plan for protecting insured patients from large medical bills when they unwittingly receive out-of-network care. ABC supported a fix to surprise billing to lower health care costs.

 

Georgia Special Election Briefing:

 

Join ABC on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, at 1 p.m. ET as we discuss the Georgia Special Elections and the impact they will have in 2021. All ABC members and staff are invited to attend.

 

Election Briefing: Georgia Special Election

Monday, Jan. 4

1-2 p.m. ET

RSVP Today: CLICK HERE

 

Review the Georgia Special Election One Pager to learn how you can get involved today. 

 

EEOC Releases Q&A Guidance Section on COVID-19 Vaccination Policies:

 

Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued new guidance on COVID-19 vaccination policies. To learn more about the EEOC guidance, see ABC’s general counsel’s analysis, EEOC Issues Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccination Policies.

 

On December 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance entitled What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws by adding a section “K.” The new section addresses questions on COVID-19 vaccinations and the applicability of equal employment opportunity laws.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: PPP Tax Deductibility Hangs in the Balance, ABC Urges Action, Georgia Polling, and EEOC Guidance on Vaccinations

Concern Over PPP Tax Deductibility in COVID Negotiations:

While Negotiations between Democratic and Republican Congressional Leaders are ongoing and an agreement could be reached at any minute, with text released as early as tonight, we have unfortunately, heard rumors that a “compromise” position on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) tax deductibility was being discussed among members of Congress.  At this time, we know that the compromise under consideration would allow deductibility for PPP loans below a certain level, potentially $150,000, though unconfirmed, and explicitly disallow deductibility for loans above that level. Some members of Congress also believe that disallowing deductibility could also be used as a revenue raiser to offset the cost of other provisions in the end of year package.

 

This raises serious concerns for ABC and our member companies as it would largely enshrine the misguided IRS position on PPP tax deductibility into law for a large swath of PPP loan recipients and would essentially implement a tax increase on many businesses that are continuing to struggle during this pandemic. It would also divide PPP loan recipients between “small, good” borrowers, and “large, bad” borrowers, and would likely have a chilling impact on the new round of PPP funding for many small businesses that may require these forgivable loans to survive.

 

Today, ABC sent out an action alert to members on this issue to ensure that Congress enacts full deductibility for all PPP recipients. We urge all members to contact their U.S. Representatives and Senators to oppose this proposed “compromise” language. Tell Congress: Don’t Cap Tax Deductibility of PPP Loans.

 

Georgia Polling Update:

 The Georgia Battleground Fund released updated polling numbers showing both Sens. Perdue and Loeffler taking a 1-point lead (one-pager attached).  ABC PAC and ABC members have contributed a combined $201,000+ directly to Sen Perdue’s and Sen. Loeffler’s campaigns.

Review the Georgia Special Election One Pager to learn how you can get involved today. 

 

EEOC Releases Q&A Guidance Section on Vaccinations

On December 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance entitled What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws by adding a section “K.” The new section addresses questions on COVID-19 vaccinations and the applicability of equal employment opportunity laws. The previously released sections of the guidance (A-J) address issues concerning COVID-19 related (A) medical inquiries, (B) the confidentiality of medical information, (C) hiring and onboarding issues, (D) reasonable accommodations, (E) pandemic related harassment, (F) furloughs and layoffs, (G) return to work, (H) age discrimination, (I) caregiver and family responsibilities, and (J) pregnancy.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID Deal Within Reach, ABC Webinar and Survey, FDA Action on COVID Test and Additional Vaccine

While Congressional leadership and White House representatives iron out the final details of the COVID relief package, it appears for the first time in months that a deal is not only possible, but probable. The four congressional leaders, McConnell, Schumer, Pelosi, and McCarthy, are in agreement that any additional pandemic aid should be rolled into the year-end spending package and that Congress should not leave town without approving some additional relief.

 

While language is not yet finalized, a group of bipartisan members of the House and Senate put out compromise legislation earlier this week, which seems to make up a substantial likely portion of any deal. Of interest to ABC members is the bill’s language on PPP loans and loan forgiveness. Although the language may change with leadership making the final call on what is in and out of the compromise package, there is reason to hope that critical ABC priorities, including PPP tax deductibility and expansion to 501(c)6 organizations should be included.

 

At this time it appears both Democrats and Republicans have agreed to keep divisive issues out of the bill, mainly limited liability protection for businesses and additional billions in funds for states and local governments.  

 

Below is a brief overview of the PPP piece and a section by section analysis of the bipartisan package here and full text here:

 

Subtitle A: Paycheck Protection Program & Small Business Support

  • $300 billion to Small Business Administration
  • Funding to allow the hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
  • Eligibility would be limited to small businesses with 300 or fewer employees that have sustained a 30 percent revenue loss in any quarter of 2020.
  • Small 501(c)(6) organizations that are not lobbying organizations and that have 150 employees or fewer, such as local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and tourism offices, would become eligible for PPP. Further eligibility requirements include the organization does not receive more than 10 percent of its receipts from lobbying activities, and the lobbying activities of the organization do not comprise more than 10 percent of the total activities of the organization.
  • Forgivable expenses are expanded to include supplier costs and investments in facility modifications and personal protective equipment to operate safely. o Business expenses paid for with the proceeds of PPP loans are tax deductible, consistent with Congressional intent in the CARES Act.
  • Loan forgiveness process is simplified for borrowers with PPP loans of $150,000 or less.
  • Set-asides are included to ensure that smaller borrowers and underserved communities get the help they need, such as: for small businesses with 10 or fewer employees; for loans made by small community lenders, including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), credit unions, small community banks, Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), and farm service lenders; and for the Minority Business Development Agency.
  • Funding for independent live venue operators, including eligible independent movie theatres and museums, affected by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
  • Extension of Section 1112 of the CARES Act, which provides payment of principal, interest, and associated fees on qualifying Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a), 504 and microloans.
  • Funding for SBA loan products to increase guarantees on SBA 7(a) loans and reduce fees on 7(a) and 504 loans; provide loan subsidies for 7(a) loans; and provide Economic Injury Disaster Loan grant advances.
  • Includes re-purposing of $138 billion in unspent allocations to be reinvested in the PPP program

 

A reminder that ABC continues to push Congress and the administration to include key priorities for the construction industry in the deal highlighted in ABC’s letter to House and Senate leadership, a letter from a coalition of dozens of business organizations supporting additional efforts to include tax deductibility of Paycheck Protection Program loans in any year-end legislation, and a letter with national organizations and state affiliates addressing PPP tax deductibility issue as well.

 

ABC National Prevailing Wage Survey of ABC Public Works Contractors Launched This Week:


As mentioned on last week’s monthly government affairs conference call, this week ABC national is sending a survey to ABC members we suspect participate in public works contracting. The 21-question survey will help ABC National and ABC chapters educate lawmakers and stakeholders about federal prevailing wage laws governed by the Davis-Bacon Act, as well as local and state prevailing wage laws.

 

The survey should take an estimated 5-15 minutes to complete, depending on the detail of responses to the open-ended questions and any additional comments and information provided by participants. Answers will be anonymous but participants have the option to provide contact information if they would like staff to follow-up and use comments in ABC’s local, state and federal advocacy efforts. We hope to close the survey on 12/23, although we may extend the completion deadline past the holidays if there is not enough participation.

 

We will share the findings with chapters and government affairs chapter staff in January and will use findings to inform 2021 advocacy strategies. If you have any questions regarding this survey, please contact ABC Vice President, Regulatory, Labor & State Affairs, Ben Brubeck ([email protected]).

 

Here is a link to the sample survey: https://abcnational.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/preview/SV_87hPpqg0369d5fn?Q_CHL=preview&Q_SurveyVersionID=current

 

FDA Approves First Over-The-Counter Rapid At-Home Covid-19 Test

 

The FDA on Tuesday approved the first at-home Covid-19 test that can be purchased without a prescription. The test, produced by Australian manufacturer Ellume, is expected to cost $30 and will be available at pharmacies and online. The rapid at-home test delivers results as quickly as 20 minutes. The company expects to make 3 million tests in January before further ramping up production.

 

Pfizer to Distribute 4 Million Vaccine Doses Next Week

 

The Trump Administration on Tuesday announced 4 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will be distributed next week following the initial 2.9 million doses the company shipped this week. The Administration is also hopeful Moderna’s investigational vaccine for the virus will also be granted emergency use authorization later this week, which would pave the way for an additional 6 million doses next week. The FDA’s Advisory Panel on Immunization Practices will meet to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the vaccine on Thursday, setting up an emergency use authorization as early as Friday.

 

REMINDER - ABC Action Alerts on COVID Relief:

 

ABC COVID Relief Priorities Action Alert

 

As negotiations on COVID-19 relief that could be included in a forthcoming omnibus spending deal continue, it is critical that ABC members reach out to their Reps and Senators on ABC’s priority issues.  

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID Talks, Biden Cabinet, & COVID Action Alert Reminder

COVID Deal Makes Progress:

 

Yesterday afternoon, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in her office. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also joined the meeting by phone to discuss a potential COVID relief deal ahead of the holiday recess and end of the 116th Congress. Schumer told reporters afterwards that "it was a good meeting." McCarthy also said that there had been "progress."

 

The meeting comes after a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers on Monday introduced two bills on coronavirus relief amounting to $908 billion. Pelosi and Schumer have previously called for the framework proposed by this group to be the basis of any negotiations.

 

The first bill totals $748 billion and includes additional funding for the popular Paycheck Protection Program, schools and unemployment insurance, as well as more money for vaccine development and distribution, coronavirus testing and contact tracing. This bill also would also include a couple of ABC priorities, ensuring the deductibility of PPP loans to businesses, and expanding PPP for 501(c)6 organizations, with some restrictions on those orgs with lobbying activities.

 

The second measure, amounting to $160 billion, addresses two sticking points that have stalled negotiations: funding for state and local governments, which is critical for Democrats, and liability shields for businesses and institutions, which is a priority for McConnell.

 

McConnell said on Tuesday that he was willing to set aside liability protections and focus on the first bill, if Democrats are also willing to give up passing something on state and local aid.

 

"We ought to agree on what we can agree on," McConnell said. An additional issue that remains unresolved is whether to include direct payments to Americans in a government funding bill or coronavirus relief proposal.

 

A reminder that ABC continues to push Congress and the administration to include key priorities for the construction industry in the deal highlighted in ABC’s letter to House and Senate leadership, a letter from a coalition of dozens of business organizations supporting additional efforts to include tax deductibility of Paycheck Protection Program loans in any year-end legislation, and a letter with national organizations and state affiliates addressing PPP tax deductibility issue as well.

 

Biden Continues to Select Key Members for New Administration:

 

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, to be his transportation secretary. The position could be pivotal in any attempts by Biden to expand infrastructure spending, as some Democrats are seeking. The department could also play a significant role in setting rules for travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and helping struggling airlines and transit systems recover from dramatic drops in passengers.

 

Buttigieg graduated from Harvard University and received a Rhodes Scholarship to attend the University of Oxford in England. In addition to working as a consultant to McKinsey & Co., he served in the Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer and was mayor of South Bend for two terms, leaving office last January.

 

Biden also will name former EPA head Gina McCarthy as his domestic climate policy chief, placing one of the architects of Barack Obama’s climate regulatory efforts at the helm of his strategy to put the country on a path to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

 

McCarthy, who will lead a new White House office of domestic climate policy, served as EPA's air chief in Obama's first term and as EPA administrator in his second. While there, she oversaw development of a suite of climate regulations — targeting greenhouse gases from cars and trucks, power plants, and oil and gas producers— that were targeted, modified, or repealed under the Trump administration.

 

REMINDER - ABC Action Alerts on COVID Relief:

 

ABC COVID Relief Priorities Action Alert

 

As negotiations on COVID-19 relief that could be included in a forthcoming omnibus spending deal continue, it is critical that ABC members reach out to their Reps and Senators on ABC’s priority issues.  Your attention is appreciated, as yesterday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said Congress should “set aside” the issues of liability and state and local aid for now, adding that he would be willing to return to that issue (liability), along with state and local funding - a priority for Democrats - next year under the new administration. McConnell also added that the Senate can’t leave for the year without passing relief.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID-19 Relief Negotiations, Vaccine Distribution, and PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaire FAQ

COVID-19 Relief Negotiations:

 

As Congress avoided a government shutdown last week, passing a one-week continuing resolution government funding bill that kicked the deadline to 12/18, the legislative hopes of several issues are riding on a funding negotiations breakthrough, none more important than COVID-19 relief.

Bipartisan congressional negotiators announced today that they have struck a compromise on a $908 billion COVID-19 relief package that will be broken up into two separate bills. The announcement of the dual bill nicknamed “908”, comes after weeks of negotiations between House and Senate Democrats.

The first bill, is a $748 billion package that includes less-controversial policies such as new unemployment benefits and additional small business funding through the Paycheck Protection Program. The second bill would seek to deal with the divisive issues surrounding COVID relief through a roughly $160 billion package that would include liability protection for businesses and state and local funding to combat the virus. This second bill is expected to need more time to be negotiated.

The recent breakthrough is not a guarantee that the bill will become law, as Democratic and Republican leadership have not cosigned the agreement. The expected vehicle for COVID-19 relief also has yet to be finalized, with appropriators haggling over an omnibus appropriations package to avoid a new shutdown deadline this week.

A reminder that ABC continues to push Congress and the administration to include key priorities for the construction industry in the deal highlighted in ABC’s letter to House and Senate leadership, a letter from a coalition of dozens of business organizations supporting additional efforts to include tax deductibility of Paycheck Protection Program loans in any year-end legislation, and a letter with national organizations and state affiliates addressing PPP tax deductibility issue as well. ABC has also been pushing action alerts on the PPP deductibility issue.

 

Reach out to your Representatives and Senators to urge their support for ABC’s priority issues in a COVID-19 relief package by taking action here: ABC COVID Relief Priorities Action Alert.

 

U.S. Begins COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution:

The first shipments of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are out for delivery, with 189 packages leaving the Pfizer facility in Michigan today. The vaccine is expected to arrive at 145 locations across the U.S. today with another 400 boxes expected to be delivered tomorrow.

This welcome development comes as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in an interview Sunday that he expects the U.S. to have the capacity to vaccinate 20 million people in December, 50 million by the end of January, and 100 million by the end of February. Azar also indicated even more people could be vaccinated by then if the FDA approves the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The CDC Advisory Panel on Immunization Practices will meet Thursday to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the Moderna vaccine.

The CDC has created a COVID-19 vaccine website with FAQs and more information on the vaccines, which can be accessed here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

 

ICYMI - SBA Releases New FAQ on PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaire:

On December 9, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) published FAQ Number 53, addressing why certain borrowers will receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Necessity Questionnaires. (See our prior alert on the questionnaires here.) The SBA also publicly released the for-profit and nonprofit questionnaires.

FAQ Number 53 confirms information that appears on the face of the questionnaires:

  • SBA is reviewing all loans of $2 million or more, and the questionnaire is part of this process.
  • The questionnaire is due 10 business days after a borrower receives it from their lender.
  • "A request to complete the Loan Necessity Questionnaire does not mean that SBA is challenging a borrower's certification that is required by the CARES Act."
  • The SBA will be applying a "totality of the circumstances test" and conducting a "multi-factor analysis" of the questionnaire responses.

 

FAQ 53 also provides additional context about the SBA's expectations for the review process:

 

  • SBA notes that it is possible for a borrower to have made its economic need certification in good faith at the time of application, "even if subsequent developments resulted in the loan no longer being necessary." However, SBA "may take into account the borrower's circumstances and actions both before and after the borrower's certification to the extent that doing so will assist SBA in determining whether the borrower made the statutorily required certification in good faith at the time of its loan application."
  • The SBA expects that it will request additional information, when necessary. If additional information is requested, "borrowers will have an opportunity to provide a narrative response to SBA explaining the circumstances that provided the basis for their good-faith loan necessity certification." (See our prior alert on preparing an economic need narrative here.)
  • It appears that the SBA will make a final determination that a borrower did not have the requisite economic need only after giving the borrower an opportunity to submit additional information. FAQ 53 states: "SBA will make a final determination that a borrower lacked an adequate basis for its loan necessity certification after reviewing any additional information that a borrower chooses to submit."


ABC joined a coalition of 80 organizations in letters to Congressional Leadership and SBA/Treasury regarding the PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaires. At issue are "loan necessity" questionnaires that the Small Business Administration quietly circulated in recent weeks to obtain information from businesses that took Paycheck Protection Program loans worth $2 million or more. The nine-page forms, which the SBA issued with little public explanation, sought details from borrowers beyond what they provided in initial loan applications, including information on quarterly revenue, capital expenditures, dividend payments and whether any employees earned more than $250,000.

 

ABC will continue to monitor this critical issue and provide updates on any Congressional or Administration responses.

 

Biden Clinches Electoral College Victory: 

Today, President-elect Joe Biden received enough electoral votes to formally clinch the presidency, as the 538 electors who make up the Electoral College met throughout the day in their respective states and the District of Columbia. This is the next major step in the Electoral College process to affirm the 2020 presidential general election results. Electors are required by law to vote for president and vice president on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, which this year is today.
 

The next important date on the calendar leading to the inauguration of the new president is Jan. 6, when Congress meets in joint session to formally accept the Electoral College results.

 

Congress Passes NDAA Despite Trump Veto Threat:

On Friday, the Senate overwhelmingly approved this year's defense policy legislation, setting up a confrontation with President Donald Trump after he threatened to veto the bill. Senators approved the National Defense Authorization Act by a wide 84-13 margin, well beyond the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. The House previously passed the legislation with a veto proof majority as well. However, President Trump has maintained his stance that he will veto the bill – although he has until December 23rd to do so.

Critical to ABC members, the bill contains a provision which would require nearly all businesses with 20 or fewer employees to register their “beneficial owners” with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within two to three years of enactment and update that information regularly for the life of the business.

 

 

TOMORROW - Webinar on Potential Tax Proposals from the Biden Administration:

 

Tomorrow from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM EST, ABC, in collaboration with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), will be providing an overview of tax proposals expected from the incoming Biden Administration and the impact they could have on the nation’s construction businesses and contractors. The Biden plan intends to increase income and payroll taxes on high-income individuals (over $400,000) and raise income taxes on corporations (including a new minimum tax). This webinar qualifies for continuing professional education (CPE) credits for participants.

 

Click to register for the webinar.

 

THURSDAY - Frank Luntz Messaging Webinar on Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements:

Join renowned communications professional, author, political pollster and pundit Dr. Frank Luntz as he premieres research and messaging related to ABC’s fight for fair and open competition against government-mandated project labor agreements. A must-attend ABC members-only webinar for advocates of fair and open competition, participants will receive an overview of messaging and strategies ABC members, volunteer leaders and chapter staff can utilize to become effective advocates for the merit shop contracting community in our continued fight for fair and open competition on federal, state and local government procured public works contracting opportunities.

Register for the webinar at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 17, here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/810690125698530828

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID Relief, SBA FAQ, NDAA Passes Senate, and Reminders

Where COVID Relief Talks Stand:

While the impasse continues, Congress was successful in avoiding a government shutdown this week when the Senate voice voted through a continuing resolution governemnt funding bill that kicked the  deadline to next week. At issue between the two sides are limited liability protections for businesses operating during the pandemic and funding for state and local aid. While Democratic and Republian leadership have been unable to reach a final agreement, staff from a bipartisan committee of Senators and U.S. Reps. have been discussing the non-controversial elements of COVID relief and potential plans to include them in the government funding bill next week.

A reminder that ABC continues to push Congress and the administration to include key priorities for the construction industry in the deal highlighted in ABC’s letter to House and Senate leadership, a letter from a coalition of dozens of business organizations supporting additional efforts to include tax deductibility of Paycheck Protection Program loans in any year-end legislation, and a letter with national organizations and state affiliates addressing PPP tax deductibility issue as well. ABC has also been pushing action alerts on the PPP deductibility issue.

 

SBA Releases New FAQ on PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaire:

On December 9, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) published FAQ Number 53, addressing why certain borrowers will receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Necessity Questionnaires. (See our prior alert on the questionnaires here.) The SBA also publicly released the for-profit and nonprofit questionnaires.

FAQ Number 53 confirms information that appears on the face of the questionnaires:

  • SBA is reviewing all loans of $2 million or more, and the questionnaire is part of this process.
  • The questionnaire is due 10 business days after a borrower receives it from their lender.
  • "A request to complete the Loan Necessity Questionnaire does not mean that SBA is challenging a borrower's certification that is required by the CARES Act."
  • The SBA will be applying a "totality of the circumstances test" and conducting a "multi-factor analysis" of the questionnaire responses.

FAQ 53 also provides additional context about the SBA's expectations for the review process:

  • SBA notes that it is possible for a borrower to have made its economic need certification in good faith at the time of application, "even if subsequent developments resulted in the loan no longer being necessary." However, SBA "may take into account the borrower's circumstances and actions both before and after the borrower's certification to the extent that doing so will assist SBA in determining whether the borrower made the statutorily required certification in good faith at the time of its loan application."
  • The SBA expects that it will request additional information, when necessary. If additional information is requested, "borrowers will have an opportunity to provide a narrative response to SBA explaining the circumstances that provided the basis for their good-faith loan necessity certification." (See our prior alert on preparing an economic need narrative here.)
  • It appears that the SBA will make a final determination that a borrower did not have the requisite economic need only after giving the borrower an opportunity to submit additional information. FAQ 53 states: "SBA will make a final determination that a borrower lacked an adequate basis for its loan necessity certification after reviewing any additional information that a borrower chooses to submit."


ABC joined a coalition of 80 organizations in letters to Congressional Leadership and SBA/Treasury regarding the PPP Loan Necessity Questionnaires. At issue are "loan necessity" questionnaires that the Small Business Administration quietly circulated in recent weeks to obtain information from businesses that took Paycheck Protection Program loans worth $2 million or more. The nine-page forms, which the SBA issued with little public explanation, sought details from borrowers beyond what they provided in initial loan applications, including information on quarterly revenue, capital expenditures, dividend payments and whether any employees earned more than $250,000.

ABC will continue to monitor this critical issue and provide updates on any Congressional or Administration responses.


Senate Passes NDAA to Send to President’s Desk:

The Senate on Friday overwhelmingly approved this year's defense policy legislation, setting up a confrontation with President Donald Trump after he threatened to veto the bill. Senators approved the National Defense Authorization Act by a wide 84-13 margin, well beyond the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto. The House previously passed the legislation with a veto proof majority as well.

Critical to ABC members, the bill contains a provision which would require nearly all businesses with 20 or fewer employees to register their “beneficial owners” with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within two to three years of enactment and update that information regularly for the life of the business. The bill still has a veto threat against it from President Trump due to an unrelated section, but there could be enough congressional support to overrule his veto, if he indeed vetoes the bill.

 

GA Senate: Calling All Virtual Volunteers!

 

Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face an extremely tough runoff election Jan. 5, 2021, and the outcome will determine the fate of the U.S. Senate and the future of free enterprise. A pro-merit shop Senate majority will stop partisan anti-business legislation and ABC is putting it all on the line.

ABC National is looking for virtual volunteers to participate in a member-to-member get out the vote phone tree. This election is all about turnout and we need your help to get the message to members in Georgia.  Sign up to learn more: CLICK HERE!

 

Contact Mel Pfeiffenberger, director of political affairs, with any questions: [email protected].

 

REMINDER - ABC Action Alerts on COVID Relief:


ABC COVID Relief Priorities Action Alert

As negotiations on COVID-19 relief that could be included in a forthcoming omnibus spending deal continue, it is critical that ABC members reach out to their Reps and Senators on ABC’s priority issues.  Your attention is appreciated, as yesterday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said Congress should “set aside” the issues of liability and state and local aid for now, adding that he would be willing to return to that issue (liability), along with state and local funding - a priority for Democrats - next year under the new administration. McConnell also added that the Senate can’t leave for the year without passing relief.

 

REGISTER TODAY - Webinar on Potential Tax Proposals from the Biden Administration:

 ABC in collaboration with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) will be providing an overview of tax proposals expected from the incoming Biden Administration and the impact they could have on the nation’s construction businesses and contractors. The Biden plan intends to increase income and payroll taxes on high-income individuals (over $400,000) and raise income taxes on corporations (including a new minimum tax). This webinar qualifies for continuing professional education (CPE) credits for participants.

 

Click to register for the webinar.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID Relief Talks, Biden Labor Team, Georgia Virtual Volunteers, State Vaccination Plan, and Reminders

Where COVID Relief Talks Stand:

 

Last week, a bipartisan group of House Members and Senators released their framework for COVID relief, which can be viewed here and here. This week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin pitched Speaker Pelosi this week on a new $916 billion offer, which he said was crafted in consultation with Trump and GOP congressional leaders. That price tag is slightly more than a bipartisan proposal that’s still being finalized, and over $400 billion more than the Senate GOP’s targeted proposal. “This proposal includes money for state and local governments and robust liability protections for businesses, schools and universities.” Mnuchin said in a statement. The plan also includes a round of $600 stimulus checks, which is lower than what some lawmakers had been pushing for.

 

Pelosi and Schumer, however called the offer “unacceptable,” because it reduces the money for unemployment insurance. “While it is progress that Leader McConnell has signed off on a $916 billion offer that is based off of the bipartisan framework, the President’s proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks. … The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution.”

 

Senate Majority Leader McConnell today called the statement from Democratic leaders schizophrenic, but said that “we’re still looking for a way forward” on COVID relief.

 

A reminder that ABC continues to push Congress and the administration to include key priorities for the construction industry in the deal highlighted in ABC’s letter to House and Senate leadership, a letter from a coalition of dozens of business organizations supporting additional efforts to include tax deductibility of Paycheck Protection Program loans in any year-end legislation, and a letter with national organizations and state affiliates addressing PPP tax deductibility issue as well. ABC has also been pushing action alerts on the PPP deductibility issue.

 

Biden Looks to Fill Labor Slots:

 

Reports are indicating that Patrick Gaspard, who was an aide to former President Barack Obama, is a leading candidate to be picked as Labor secretary by President-elect Joseph Biden. Gaspard, who served as ambassador to South Africa and political director under Obama, is stepping down as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, fueling speculation that he will be nominated for the top position at the Department of Labor.

 

Recent reports have also highlighted President-elect Biden’s focus on filling “acting” leadership posts at the U.S. Labor Department, that would allow the administration to circumvent Senate confirmation fights and allow the agency to start work on Inauguration Day at the Wage and Hour Division, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Employment and Training Administration, and Office of the Solicitor, among other senior positions at DOL.

 

The incoming administration plans to act with urgency to reverse Trump DOL workplace actions and implement new policies in the areas of occupational safety, paid leave, and unemployment insurance. The transition team wants to ensure it has people in place to take a host of actions while workers need assistance during the pandemic, realizing certain moves would lose relevance later in the year when a vaccine is likely to be widely distributed, the sources said. Reports indicate that the short-term agenda includes reorienting DOL subagencies to advance tougher enforcement protocols and broader interpretations of which employees are owed jobless benefits and paid sick leave.

 

State Vaccination Plans Roundup

 

States are required by the CDC to submit their plans to distribute a vaccine for COVID-19 once the vaccine becomes available. These state vaccine distribution plans outline information including phases, distribution methods, and population targets. Visit here for the latest roundup of state vaccination plans and how some states are defining essential workers such as construction industry.

 

GA Senate: Calling All Virtual Volunteers!

 

Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face an extremely tough runoff election Jan. 5, 2021, and the outcome will determine the fate of the U.S. Senate and the future of free enterprise. A pro-merit shop Senate majority will stop partisan anti-business legislation and ABC is putting it all on the line.

 

ABC National is looking for virtual volunteers to participate in a member-to-member get out the vote phone tree. This election is all about turnout and we need your help to get the message to members in Georgia.  Sign up to learn more: CLICK HERE!

 

Contact Mel Pfeiffenberger, director of political affairs, with any questions: [email protected].

 

REMINDER - ABC Action Alerts on COVID Relief & NDAA Beneficial Ownership:

 

Last week, ABC sent two Action Alerts to members on a critical issues facing the construction industry and small businesses. See an overview below and urge your members/colleagues to send these alerts to their U.S. Reps. and Senators.

 

  1. NDAA Beneficial Ownership ABC Action Alert

 

While the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report was passed in the U.S. House yesterday afternoon with a veto proof majority of 335 - 78, the U.S. Senate still needs to take up the legislation. The House version currently contains a provision which would require nearly all businesses with 20 or fewer employees to register their “beneficial owners” with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within two to three years of enactment and update that information regularly for the life of the business. The bill still has a veto threat against it from President Trump due to an unrelated section, but there could be enough congressional support to overrule his veto, if he indeed vetoes the bill. It is critical that Senators and Representatives hear from ABC members about the impact this dangerous provision will have on small businesses in their states and districts.

 

For more information on the “beneficial ownership” provision and what it means for small businesses, please read the fact sheet.

 

  1. ABC COVID Relief Priorities Action Alert

 

As negotiations on COVID-19 relief that could be included in a forthcoming omnibus spending deal continue, it is critical that ABC members reach out to their Reps and Senators on ABC’s priority issues.  Your attention is appreciated, as yesterday, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said Congress should “set aside” the issues of liability and state and local aid for now, adding that he would be willing to return to that issue (liability), along with state and local funding - a priority for Democrats - next year under the new administration. McConnell also added that the Senate can’t leave for the year without passing relief.

 

 

REGISTER TODAY - Webinar on Potential Tax Proposals from the Biden Administration:

 

ABC in collaboration with the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) will be providing an overview of tax proposals expected from the incoming Biden Administration and the impact they could have on the nation’s construction businesses and contractors. The Biden plan intends to increase income and payroll taxes on high-income individuals (over $400,000) and raise income taxes on corporations (including a new minimum tax). This webinar qualifies for continuing professional education (CPE) credits for participants.

 

Click to register for the webinar.

Read the rest of entry »

ABC Legislative & Political Update: COVID-19 Vaccine Executive Order, ABC Action Alerts & Georgia Senate Elections Update

President Trump To Issue “America First” Vaccine Executive Order & Other Vaccine News:

 

Today, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order aimed at ensuring all Americans have access to the COVID-19 vaccine before the U.S. government begins aiding other nations. The executive order is expected to be signed at the White House Vaccine Summit today. Pfizer and Moderna will not be in attendance at today’s summit, which comes ahead of the FDA’s review of vaccines produced by both companies. Who will be there - President Trump, Vice President Pence, and drug distributors including McKesson, Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS Health, UPS, and FedEx. The event can be streamed here: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1MYxNmvQBBXJw

 

The forthcoming executive order comes on the heels of an upcoming CDC meeting on Thursday in which the Advisory Panel on Immunization Practices will meet to review the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. A similar meeting will occur on December 17 to consider Moderna’s investigational vaccine.  Separately, the FDA is set to release analyses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, the first of its kind being considered for U.S. distribution. The analyses are expected to be released later today, with one coming from staff scientists and one from the vaccine’s manufacturers. Both are expected to highlight the vaccine’s effectiveness, as well as how the treatment works with differences in age, ethnicity, and other demographic groups.

 

In other COVID-19 Vaccine news - Britain’s National Health Service delivered its first shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine today in what is the beginning of a mass vaccination campaign across the nation. The first 800,000 doses of the vaccine were transported in recent days from a manufacturing plant in Belgium to undisclosed government warehouses in Britain, and then to hospitals across the country. Fifty hospitals in total will be administering the shots until the government implements a plan for delivering them to nursing homes and doctor’s offices. The first round of shots will be received by doctors and nurses, certain people aged 80 and over, and nursing home workers.

 

 

REMINDER - ABC Action Alerts on COVID Relief & NDAA Beneficial Ownership:

 

Last week, ABC sent two Action Alerts to members on a critical issues facing the construction industry and small businesses. See an overview below and urge your members/colleagues to send these alerts to their U.S. Reps. and Senators.

 

  1. NDAA Beneficial Ownership ABC Action Alert

 

While the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will get a vote in the U.S. House this afternoon, the U.S. Senate still needs to take up the legislation. The House version currently contains a provision which would require nearly all businesses with 20 or fewer employees to register their “beneficial owners” with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within two to three years of enactment and update that information regularly for the life of the business. The bill still has a veto threat against it from President Trump due to an unrelated section, but there could be enough congressional support to overrule his veto. It is critical that Senators and Representatives hear from ABC members about the impact this dangerous provision will have on small businesses in their states and districts.

 

For more information on the “beneficial ownership” provision and what it means for small businesses, please read the fact sheet.

 

  1. ABC COVID Relief Priorities Action Alert

 

A  deal is currently being negotiated between the House and Senate on COVID-19 relief that could be included in a forthcoming omnibus spending deal. It is critical that ABC members reach out to their Reps and Senators on these critical issues, especially the need for liability protection, particularly the protection included in the Safe to Work Act that was part of the Senate Republicans proposal earlier this year, and PPP tax deductibility.

 

Your attention is appreciated, as today, Senate Majority Leader McConnell said Congress should “set aside” the issues of liability and state and local aid for now, adding that he would be willing to return to that issue (liability), along with state and local funding - a priority for Democrats - next year under the new administration. McConnell also added that the Senate can’t leave for the year without passing relief.

 

 

Georgia U.S. Senate Run-off Elections Update:

 

Voter registration closed in Georgia yesterday, Tuesday, December 7 and now it is a race to the finish with only 28 days left until the election. Polling has remained within the margin of error across the board. Analysis and information on the latest polls.

 

The combined races have already proven to be incredibly costly and both parties will set spending records.  As of Monday, the Republican’s Georgia Battleground Fund has raised $41.76 million of its $42.82 million overall goal or 98%.  That total includes over $16 million for the campaigns, more than $19 million for the NRSC and almost $6 million in critical state party funds for the ground game, all within less than 30 days.  ABC PAC and ABC members have already contributed over $201,000 directly to the Georgia efforts. 

 

For more information on how to get involved with the Georgia special elections, please review the Georgia Special Election One Pager.

 

Register for Frank Luntz Messaging on Government-Mandated Project Labor Agreements Webinar

Join renowned communications professional, author, political pollster and pundit Dr. Frank Luntz as he premieres research and messaging related to ABC’s fight for fair and open competition against government-mandated project labor agreements. A must-attend webinar for advocates of fair and open competition, participants will receive an overview of messaging and strategies ABC members, volunteer leaders and chapter staff can utilize to become effective advocates for the merit shop contracting community in our continued fight for fair and open competition on federal, state and local government procured public works contracting opportunities.

Register for the webinar at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 17, here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/810690125698530828

Read the rest of entry »

Pages: Previous12NextReturn Top
Subscribe To Our Blog

Get the latest updates in your email box automatically.

Archives