Senate Passes COVID-19 Stimulus Package With Key SWACCA Priorities Included
Over the weekend, the Senate passed President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 economic response package, the “American Rescue Plan Act” (H.R. 1319) on a party-line 50-49 vote. Included in this package were several critical SWACCA-advocated priorities including: (1) full federal subsidies for COBRA continuation health coverage through September 30; (2) $7.25 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program; and (3) an extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act tax credits for emergency sick, family and medical leave until September 30, 2021 and an increase to the wages covered by the credits from $10,000 to $12,000.
In addition, SWACCA supported efforts in the House and Senate to maintain a provision that would enact new reporting mandates that should enable the Internal Revenue Service to better collect taxes from individuals classified as independent contractors—especially those who get their work through online platforms. This provision was included by House Democrats in an attempt to find new revenue sources to offset the costs of several programs in the bill.
Finally, the bill also contains funding via a “special financial assistance fund” to prop-up critical and declining multiemployer pension funds. Since the Senate made several changes to the bill over the weekend, the bill must now head back to the House for consideration. The House can either take up and pass the Senate version of the bill or move to go to conference and iron out differences before the bill can be sent to President Biden. Democratic leadership has continued to signal their desire to have this bill signed into law by March 14.
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