Apr 27, 2020
The U.S. Treasury has been legally robbed! In this episode, discover the secret provisions in the multi-trillion dollar CARES Act that no one is talking about (like the new process for over the counter drug approvals) and discover the reasons behind problems that everyone is talking about (like why Mom & Pops can't get a small business loan approved but Fogo de Chao can.) The good news is that the problems are so obvious that they are easily fixed... If Congress ever comes back from vacation.
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CD160: Equifax Breach
CD199: Surprise Medical Bills
CD201: WTF is the Federal Reserve?
CD212: The COVID-19 Response Laws
Text: H.R.748 - CARES Act
Roll Call: H.R.748 - CARES Act
House passed by voice vote at 1:25pm on March 27th
Transcript: House debate
Tom Massie demanded a recorded vote but an insufficient number of members supported him and the demand for a recorded vote was refused
Signed by Trump on March 27
DIVISION A - Keeping Workers Paid and Employed, Health Care System Enhancements, and Economic Stabilization
TITLE I - Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act
Sec. 1102: "Paycheck Protection Program" (Small Business Loans)
The Federal Government will guarantee 100% of the loans made under this authority between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
The loans are allowed to be used by businesses to pay for their employees salaries, tips, sick and vacation time, health care, retirement benefits, and state and local taxes. Sole proprietors and independent contractors are eligible. All payments are capped at a salary rate of $100,000/yr per individual. Payments are not eligible for employees who live outside the United States, even if they are US citizens.
A “small business” is defined as a business with fewer than 500 employees per physical location. Usually, franchises in a large corporate chain would be except from receiving these loans, but that exemption is waived. Nonprofits and veterans organizations are eligible as well.
The maximum loan amount is $10 million. No personal guarantee or collateral can be required to get the loans between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020. There are no penalties allowed for prepayment of the loans.
The Federal government will collect no administration fees.
Interest rates are capped at 4%
Fees for banks: The government will pay the bankers processing fees of 5% for loans under $350,000, 3% for loans between $350,000 and $2 million, and 1% of loans over $2 million.
Loan payments must be allowed to be deferred - so no required payments of principal, interest, or fees - for at least 6 months and up to one year.
The loans are allowed to be sold on the secondary market, but if the investor doesn’t want to abide by the deferment requirements, the government can buy the loan.
Banks are going to be exempted from some disclosure requirements for these loans.
The law authorizes $349 billion for this program.
Sec. 1106: The loans from Section 1102 are eligible for forgiveness - as in you don’t have to pay them back - if the loan money was used for payroll costs, interest-only on mortgage payments (it specifically excludes payments towards the principal on a mortgage loan), rent payments, and/or utility payments.
The government will pay the bankers for amount of the loan forgiven plus interest, capped at the amount of the principal on the loan.
The amount of loan forgiveness will be reduced if the business employees fewer people during the COVID-19 crisis than they did before.
The amount of forgiveness will be reduced by the amount of salary that employees who make less than $100,000/yr have their pay reduced beyond a 25% cut.
Businesses can get loan forgiveness for extra money given to tipped employees.
Businesses who re-hire their employees or re-instate employees salary to their pre-crisis level by June 30, 2020 will be eligible to have their loans forgiven.
The banks will decide who will have their loans forgiven and banks are prohibited from being punished if the documentation submitted to them is wrong until June 30, 2020.
Sec. 1110: From January 31, 2020 through December 31, 2020, businesses with fewer than 500 employees, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors can request a $10,000 advance to pay for employee sick leave, payroll, increased costs for materials, rent, or mortgage payments. The business can be approved using a credit score or self certification of the ability to repay. The advance can be up to $10,000 and must be paid within 3 days. If the applicant is approved for a loan, the advance will be reduced from the loan forgiveness amount. If the applicant isn’t approved, the advance doesn’t have to be repaid. $10 billion is appropriated for the advances.
Sec. 1112: The government will pay the principal, interest, and fees for six months on some existing loans that are guaranteed by the government by the Small Business Act. $17 billion is appropriated for these payments.
Sec. 1113: Until March 27, 2021, small businesses that want to declare bankruptcy and reorganize under Chapter 11 must have debts under $7.5 million instead of $2,725,625 as is usually the case, which increases the number of small businesses that will be eligible.
TITLE II - Assistance for American Workers, Families, and Businesses
SUBTITLE A: Unemployment Insurance Provisions
Sec. 2102: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Effective period: Beginning on or after January 27, 2020 and ending on or before December 31, 2020
Limits: No one can get unemployment benefits for more than 39 weeks, but this can be extended by the Secretary of Labor if needed
Sec. 2104: Unemployment Amounts: It’s the amount determined by your state’s unemployment law plus $600 per week if the state chooses to enter into an agreement with the Secretary of Labor. The Federal government will pay for 100% of the costs of the extra unemployment payments and the administration costs. It’s an unlimited appropriation and it’s valid until July 31, 2020.
SUBTITLE B: Rebates and Other Individual Provisions
Sec. 2201: Issues a means tested “advanced refund" of $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. You only get the full amount as an adult if you make $75,000 per adult or less. People who make more than $75,000 per adult will have their check amount reduced based on their income up to about $100,000. People who make more than that will get nothing. The payment will be delivered via direct deposit to anyone who has authorized the IRS to do so since January 1, 2018 while everyone else will have to wait for checks. If we accidentally get overpaid, the IRS can’t charge us interest on that payment. The payments will be made for the 2019 tax year if you have already done your taxes for last year. If you haven’t, it’ll be based on 2018. They will send a notification in the mail to us about our payments to our last known address, which will tell us the amount and if it’s going to be delivered via direct deposit or by check.
Sec. 2202: Waives rules that penalize removing money from your retirement accounts if you take the money out between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.. You can take out up $100,000 in “coronavirus-related distributions”. You are allowed to pay it back in full for 3 years starting on the day you took the money out. To qualify, you have to self certify that you are someone who had COVID-19, is caring for a spouse or dependent who had COVID-19, or someone who was financially screwed in some way due to being quarantined, having work hours reduced, or having to care for a child.
Sec. 2203: Waives the requirements that people over the age of 72, or their dependents who inherited their retirement accounts, to withdraw some money from the retirement accounts every year. The waiver is valid even for people who were not adversely affected by COVID-19.
Sec. 2204: Allows people - even those that don’t itemize their deductions - to deduct $300 in donations in 2020 for cash payments given to charities, a government organization, educational organizations, veterans organizations… There’s a long list. Applies to taxable years starting with 2020.
Sec. 2205: For people who do itemize their deductions, the current limit of cash contributions than can be written off (which is a maximum of 60% of the taxpayer’s tax bill for the year) is suspended. You can deduct up to your entire tax bill, although maybe even more because carry-overs are allowed. For corporations, the usual limit of cash contributions that can be written off (10% of the corporation’s income) is increased to 25% of the corporation’s income. The corporate limit increase is valid only in 2020.
Sec. 2206: Allows employers to pay for some of an employee’s student loan - principal and/or interest - tax free if the payment is made by January 1, 2021.
SUBTITLE C - Business provisions
Sec. 2301: Employers with more than 100 employees will be able to get a tax credit for half of the wages they pay to their employee’s who can’t work, with a limit of $10,000 per employee per quarter. Employer with fewer than 100 employees can get the tax credit for all their employees. Employers who qualify are ones that had to close due to COVID-19 or whose gross receipts are less than 50% of what they were the same quarter last year. Employers who take out the small business loans created by this law can’t get this credit too. They will lose this tax credit in the quarter after their gross receipts are more than 80% of what they were in same quarter the prior year. This is predicted to save companies $54.6 billion.
Sec. 2302: Allows employers to defer payroll taxes, with half the amount required to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half due by December 31, 2022. Businesses that have had loans forgiven using the provisions in this law are not eligible.
Sec. 2303: The IRS code has, for many years, allowed business losses to be carried over to following years, so that the companies tax liability will be lower in the years to come. This law changes that so business losses from 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 can be carried backwards to each of the five years before the loss while also allowing the existing option to carry the losses forward too. The law also removes the limit that said that this couldn’t be done to offset more than 80% of taxable income for 2018, 2019, or 2020, which means this can be used to zero out their taxable income for years since 2013. This means that companies will be able to get refunds on taxes they paid on taxes going as far back as 2013. In those years, corporate tax rates were higher, so reducing their income levels retroactively lets them get more money back from those higher tax years. There’s no requirement that the businesses that get this tax gift be in any way negatively affected by COVID-19. This is estimated to provide $25.5 billion to corporations
Sec. 2304: Prior to the 2017 tax cut law, individual taxpayers could deduct unlimited business losses against other kinds of income. The 2017 tax law changed that so that losses could only be used to shelter the first $250,000 or $500,000 of a married couple’s nonbusiness income, such as capital gains from stock market investments. This law retroactively removes new limits imposed by the 2017 tax law going back to 2018 and until 2021. This will allow individuals to submit amended returns and get refunds that weren’t allowed in 2018 and 2019. In reality, this will allow wealthy investors to use losses generated by depreciation in real estate to minimize their taxes on profits from things like investments in the stock market. No harm from COVID-19 needs to be proven in order to use and benefit from this provision. This is the second largest tax giveaway in this law. This is projected to cost almost $170 billion.
Sec. 2305: Allows corporations expecting a refund due to the repeal of the alternative minimum tax in 2017 to get that refund faster.
Sec. 2306: Increases the amount corporations can deduct on the interest expenses it pays on its loans from 30% of the company’s “adjusted taxable income” to 50%. Companies can do this regardless of any affect COVID-19 had on their business. This is projected to cost $13.4 billion.
Sec. 2307: A tax credit for real estate owners, this changes a provision in the 2017 tax law to allow real estate owners to write off the costs of improvements to the interiors of their properties in the first year instead of spreading them out over many years. This is backdated to the enactment of the tax law, which will allow real estate owners to get tax refunds.
Sec. 2308: Waives the federal excise tax on any alcohol used in hand sanitizer for calendar year 2020.
TITLE III - Supporting America’s Health Care System in the Fight Against the Coronavirus
Part 1 - Addressing Supply Shortages
Subpart A - Medical Product Supplies
Sec. 3101: Orders a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the security of the United States medical product supply chain, specifically by evaluating the dependance of the United States and our private sector on critical drugs and devices sources or manufactured outside of the United States.
Sec. 3103: Manufacturers of certain types of masks and ventilators are granted immunity from lawsuits during public health emergencies.
Subpart B - Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages
Sec. 3112: Requires the manufacturers of drugs critical to the public health to report interruptions to the supply of the drug when the cause of the interruption is an interruption in the supply of the active pharmaceutical ingredient. They must also create and implement risk management plans. Is not effective until mid-September 2020.
Subpart C - Preventing Medical Device Shortages
Sec. 3121: Requires manufacturers of medical devices that are critical to public health to report to the government during or in advance of a public health emergency any interruptions in the manufacture of the devices that could lead to a meaningful disruption in the supply of that device in the United States. Unless it’s not possible, the government must get this notification at least 6 months prior to the date that the interruption or discontinuance is expected. The government must then distribute the information to appropriate health care industry officials. The government can keep the information from the public if disclosing it increases the likelihood of over-purchase of the product.
Part II - Access to Health Care For COVID-19 Patients
Subpart A - Coverage of Testing and Preventive Services
Sec. 3201: Amends the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the 2nd COVID-19 Response Law) so that coverage is only for COVID-19 tests that are “approved, cleared, or authorized” or that the developer has requested or intends to request emergency use authorization, is developed in and authorized by a State, or another test that HHS determines appropriate in writing. This provision did not change the language (loophole) that requires visits be covered only if they “result in the ordering or administration of a COVID-19 test.”
Sec. 3202: Health care providers must publish on a public internet website the prices for COVID-19 testing. If health insurers have a negotiated rate with a providers, they are allowed to pay that rate if it is lower than the published rate. If there is no negotiated rate, the insurance companies must pay the amount listed on their public website.
Sec. 3203: The health insurance companies “shall” be required to cover, without cost sharing, “any qualifying coronavirus preventive service” (which is “a service or immunization that is intended to prevent or mitigate coronavirus disease 2019) within 15 days of it’s official recommendation by the United States Preventive Services Task Force or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Subpart B - Support for Health Care Providers
Sec. 3211: Provides $1.32 billion in extra funding for community health centers that are testing for COVID-19
Sec. 3215: Gives legal immunity in State and Federal courts to medical professionals who volunteer and provide services during the COVID-19 public health emergency declared on January 31, 2020, but the immunity is only valid for actions that took place after March 27th (the date of enactment). The immunity is not valid if the health care professional acted with willful or gross negligence or if the health professional was intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.
Subpart C - Miscellaneous Provisions
Sec. 3222: Elderly people who are homebound due to social distancing requirements during the COVID-19 emergency will be able to get government food deliveries as if they were homebound due to illness, as the law usually requires.
Part III - Innovation
Sec. 3301: Allows contracts created by BARDA (the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority) during a public health emergency to continue past the end date of the public health emergency.
Sec. 3302: Requires - no option - the Secretary of Health and Human Services to expedite the development and review of new animal drugs if preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the new drug might prevent or treat an animal disease that could cause serious or life-threatening diseases in humans, if the expedited process is requested by the organization creating the animal drug.
Part IV - Health Care Workforce
Sec. 3401: Appropriates $23.7 million per year through 2025 for grants to health professions schools and other public and nonprofit health or educational organizations, but with most of the grants being funded at significantly lower rates than they were during the Obama years. For example, for loan repayments and fellowships, they provided $5 million/yr during 2010-2014; that’s decreased to $1.2 million for 2021-2025. For educational assistance for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, they provided $60 million/yr during 2010-2014; that’s decreased to $15 million for 2021-2025. For grants to public and nonprofit private hospitals and medical schools, they provided $125 million/yr during 2010-2014; that’s decreased to under $49 million for 2021-2025. For health education center programs, they provided $125 million/yr during 2010-2014; that’s decreased to under $41.2 million for 2021-2025. For public health training centers, they provided at least $43 million/yr for 2012-2015; that’s decreased to $17 million for 2021-2025. The only category that gets significantly greater funding is a pediatric specialty loan repayment program that requires the student to work for at least 2 years in pediatric medicine to get the money. The funding level was $50 million/yr from 2010-2013, the funding is authorized to be unlimited from 2021 through 2025. All of these are authorizations for appropriations, they don’t provide any additional money.
Sec. 3403: Requires grants and contracts be awarded for a Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, that would train health professionals in geriatrics. The law authorizes about $40 million, but doesn’t appropriate it. This is a problem because Congress frequently will authorize programs they have no intention of funding, and without the funding, they don’t really exist.
Sec. 3404: Authorizes appropriations, but does not appropriate, for nursing eduction programs about $138 million/yr for fiscal years 2021 through 2025, which is a decrease from the funding of $338 million that was valid from 2011-2016. Also authorizes, but does not appropriate, $117 million/yr from 2021-2015 for nursing student loans.
Subtitle B - Education Provisions
Sec. 3504: Colleges will be allowed to use some of their federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant money for students facing “unexpected expenses and unmet financial need”. The student can be given up to the maximum Federal Pell Grant for that year (which is currently $6,345).
Sec. 3505: Allows colleges to pay student their work-study wages up to the full amount they would have been paid had there not been an emergency. They can make the payments in one-time grants or as multiple payments.
Sec. 3506: The semester that students with loans couldn’t finish because of COVID-19 will not be counted towards their lifetime limits on subsidized loan eligibility.
Sec. 3507: The semester that students with loans couldn’t finish because of COVID-19 will not be counted towards their lifetime limits on Pell Grant eligibility.
Sec. 3508: Colleges, including for-profit colleges, that have students with loans withdraw from their schools due to COVID-19 will not have to repay the money they received from that student. The students will not have to return the money either and their loan obligation will be cancelled. The schools are allowed to let the student return after a leave of absence.
Sec. 3511: Gives the Secretary of Education the option, at the request of a State, local, or tribal government, to waive statutory and regulatory requirements except for civli rights laws. The waivers may also be granted to charter schools. The waivers will not be valid past the 2019-2020 school year.
Sec. 3512: During the COVID-19 emergency, the Secretary of Education can make payments - including on principal and interest - on loans issued to historically black colleges and universities through the HBCU Capital Financing Loan program, but the payments will have to be repaid to the Department of Education no sooner than one year after the COVID-19 emergency ends. The law appropriates $62 million.
Sec. 3513: The Secretary of Education is required to suspend all payments due for student loans until September 30, 2020. Interest is not allowed to accrue during the suspension time. Each month during the suspicion must be treated as if the payments were made for the purpose of loan forgiveness programs. During the suspension period, student loan collections actions including wage garnishment and tax refund reductions must stop. People with student loans are allowed to keep making payments towards their principal.
Sec. 3518: Allows the Secretary of Education to change the requirements, including matching requirements, for grant money given to colleges for the year of the emergency and the following fiscal year.
Sec. 3519: Allows the Secretary of Education to excuse teachers from obligations they made to receive grants. The Secretary of Education is required to waive requirements that teaching service be consecutive for loan forgiveness as long as the teach completes a total of 5 years of required teaching service.
Subtitle C - Labor Provisions
Sec. 3606: Allows employers who will get a credit for the sick and family leave they are providing their employees to get that credit in advance.
Sec. 3608: Required payments to employee pension plans can be postponed until January 1, 2021, but they must be paid with interest.
Sec. 3610: Allows any government agency to change their contracts to allow the government to pay for up to 40 hours per week of paid leave that a contractor provides to its employees until September 30, 2020. This only applies to contractors who can’t work because the facilities where they work are closed and who can’t do their work remotely.
Subtitle D - Finance Committee
Sec. 3701: High deductible health insurance plans that do not include deductibles for telehealth services will still be considered high deductible plans.
Sec. 3702: Starting on January 1, 2020, menstrual care products are considered medical products, which allows people to purchase them with Health Savings Accounts.
Sec. 3703: Allows people on Medicare to be covered for telehealth visits to doctors they have not seen before.
Sec. 3705: During the COVID-19 emergency, dialysis patients who receive their treatments at home do not need to meet face to face with their doctors, which allows the visit to be conducted via telehealth.
Sec. 3706: The Secretary of Health and Human Services can allow hospice physicians or nurse practitioners to conduct patient visits via telehealth during the COVID-19 emergency
Sec. 3709: Stops the 2% Medicare sequestration from May 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, but extends sequestration for an extra year (to 2030 instead of 2029)
Sec. 3710: Medicare will pay an extra 20% for people diagnosed with COVID-19, using “diagnosis codes, condition codes, or other such means as may be necessary” during the emergency period declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Sec. 3713: Beginning on the day that a COVID-19 vaccine is licensed, Medicare will not charge a deductible for the the vaccine or its administration.
Sec. 3714: Allows people on Medicare to get 90 day supplies of their drugs in a single refill for the during of the COVID-19 emergency declared by the HHS Secretary.
Sec. 3719: During the emergency period, the Secretary of HHS can loan hospitals an advance of up to 6 months of Medicare payments. The payments can be made periodically or in a lump sum for up to 100% of the their usual payments, 125% for critical access hospitals. Hospitals will have to be given 120 days before any payments are decreased to offset the loans and must be given at least 1 year from the date of their first loan receipt to pay back the balance in full.
Subtitle E: Health and Human Services Extenders
Part I - Medicare Provisions
Sec. 3803: Restores the funding levels of recently gutted low income programs. $13 billion to state health insurance programs, $7.5 billion to area agencies on aging, and $5 billion for aging and disability resources centers, and $12 billion for the National Center for Benefits and Outreach Enrollment.
Part II - Medicaid Provisions
Sec. 3813: Delays $4 billion in payment cuts to hospitals written into the Affordable Care Act which were supposed to begin in 2014. Hospitals were expected to be treating fewer uninsured individuals when the cuts were written into law.
Part III - Human Services and Other Health Programs
Sec. 3821: Extends the “Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program” (abstinence eduction) from its scheduled end of May 22, 2020 to November 30, 2020. The program gives grants to states that agree to promote abstinence-only sex ed. Requirements and funding levels
Part IV - Public Health Provisions
Sec. 3831: Adds $1.5 billion to the funding for Community Health Centers to bring the funding to equal the 2019 funding, and funds them at the same rate through November 30, 2020. Adds $241 million to the funding for the National Health Service Corps, whose funding was allowed to lapse in December 2019, restoring its funding to equal the 2019 funding. Adds $45 million to teaching health centers that operate graduate medical programs to bring the funding to equal the 2019 funding, and funds them at the same rate through November 30, 2020.
Subtitle F - Over the Counter Drugs
Part 1 - OTC Drug Review
Sec. 3851: Creates a new process for FDA approval of over the counter drug applications. Allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue administrative orders to approve changes and new uses of over the counter drugs instead of requiring drug companies to go through the standard review process that takes longer. Companies whose applications are approved will get 18 month exclusivity on their drugs.
Sec. 3854: Allows sunscreen companies with products affected by a pending FDA order to request that the HHS Secretary instead use the new, faster, less complete administrative order process created by Section 3851 for over the counter drugs. They must make this request by mid September 2020. Administrative orders issued by the HHS Secretary will be “deemed to be a final order”. As part of this process, the company may request and the HHS Secretary must conduct a “confidential meeting” with the company to discuss what data they should submit to show that their ingredients are safe and effective.
Part II - User Fees
Sec. 3862: Beginning in fiscal year 2021, to fund the new processes for over the counter drug approvals created by Section 3851, facilities that manufacture over the counter drugs will be assessed an annual fee and there will be either a $500,000 or $100,000 fee for requests to change drug monographs using the process created by Section 3851. Companies will not have to pay the fee if they are requesting changes to enhance warnings or instructions on the labels.
TITLE IV - Economic Stabilization and Assistance to Severely Distressed Sectors of the United States Economy
Subtitle A - Coronavirus Economic Stabilization Act of 2020
Sec. 4002: Defines a “covered loss” as “losses directly or indirectly as a result of coronavirus, as determined by the Secretary”, with “the Secretary” being Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “Eligible business” is an air carrier or “a United States business that has not otherwise received adequate economic relief in the form of loans or loan guarantees provided under this Act”
Sec. 4003: Gives the Secretary of the Treasury the authorization to “make loans, loan guarantees and other investments” to "eligible businesses”, States, and local governments up to a total of $500 billion dollars. $46 billion must be directed at the airline industry and $454 billion will be loans, loan guarantees, and “other investments” determined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.
Sec. 4004: Limits the amount of money that an employee of a business that gets a Treasury Department loan to $3 million plus half of whatever they got over $3 million in 2019 for the length of the loan plus one year.
Sec. 4005: Until March 1, 2022, the Secretary of Transportation will have the authority to require any airline that takes loan money to maintain their flight schedules, as the Secretary of Transportation determines is needed.
Sec. 4007: Suspends a 7.5% Federal excise tax on airlines from March 27, 2020 through the end of the year.
Sec. 4008: Amends the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform law to allow the FDIC to provide insurance for all accounts of banks that don’t accrue interest until December 31, 2020.
Sec. 4009: Between March 13, 2020 and either the end of the COVID-19 emergency or December 31, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve is exempt from requirements that they give the public a day’s notice before their meetings and that they make public the minutes of their behind closed doors meetings. They must only keep a record of their votes and reasons for their votes which might be released to the public later (there’s no requirement that they be released).
Sec. 4011: Allows unlimited lending to “nonbank financial institutions” such as insurance companies, venture capitalists, currency exchanges, and pawn shops until the end of the emergency declared on March 13 or until December 31, 2020.
Sec. 4012: Lowers the amount of actual money that community banks must have in their possession from 9% to 8%, and gives the banks with less than that a “reasonable grace period” to get the money. This is valid until the end of the emergency declared on March 13 or until December 31, 2020.
Sec. 4013: Allows banks to avoid counting troubled loans as troubled on their balance sheets from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020 or 60 days after the emergency declared on March 13th ends.
Sec. 4014: Exempts banks from relatively new reporting requirements on their credit losses from March 27, 2020 through the end of the emergency declared on March 13 or December 31, 2020.
Sec. 4015: Allows the Treasury Department to use its Exchange Stabilization Fund (which had $93.7 billion in it as of February 2020) to get around needing Congressional appropriations to cover any losses the Federal Reserve may need to absorb through its lending programs that allow unusual collateral to be offered like money market funds, corporate bonds, and securities.
Sec. 4017: Increases the President’s power to use the Defense Production Act by waiving the requirement for Congressional authorization for projects that cost more than $50 million for two years and waives the requirement that Congress needs 30 days advanced notice before a Defense Production Act project can start for 1 year.
Sec. 4018: Creates an Inspector General within the Treasury Department who will be appointed by the President. Says that when the Inspector General requests information, the agencies “shall, to the extent practicable” give him the information or else they will be reported to Congress.
Sec. 4019: Prohibits loans or payments originating from the Treasury and Federal Reserve authorized by Section 4003 from going to any company in which the President, Vice President, an executive department head, member of Congress or their spouses, children, or son/daughter in laws own over 20% of the voting stock.
Sec. 4020: Creates a Congressional Oversight Commission whose job is to conduct oversight of the implementation of this law by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. The commission will have five members: 1 appointed by the Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi), 1 appointed by the House minority leader (Kevin McCarthy), 1 appointed by the Senate majority leader (Mitch McConnell), 1 appointed by the Senate minority leader (Chuck Schumer), and 1 Chairperson co-appointed by the Speaker and Majority Leader (Pelosi and McConnell).
Sec. 4021: Companies that allow customers to adjust their payment schedules have to report that the customer is current on their payments unless their accounts are already delinquent. This is valid from January 31, 2020 through either the end of July 2020 or 4 months after the emergency declared on March 13th ends
Sec. 4022: People with Federally backed mortgages who have been affected by COVID-19 “directly or indirectly” can request and must be granted for a pause in loan payments for a maximum of about a year, but you have to request it twice (again after the first 180 days). Interest and fees will still accrue but they can’t charge any extra interest, penalties, or fees. Customers have to provide no proof of hardship. Prohibits the banks that manage Federally backed loans from moving forward with any foreclosure processes until mid-May 2020 (60 days after March 18, 2020).
Sec. 4023: People/companies that own multifamily housing with 5 or more units with Federally backed mortgages who have been affected by COVID-19 “directly or indirectly” can request and must be granted for a pause in loan payments. The forbearance (pause) can be for a total of 90 days as long as the building owner requests it three times with at least 15 days notice. People who get this pause are not allowed to evict their tenants or charge them any late fees during the mortgage payment pause.
Sec. 4024: Starting on March 27, 2020 and ending in late July 2020, landlords can not begin eviction proceedings for non-payment of rent or charge fees or penalties for not paying rent.
Sec. 4025: Prohibits the government from attaching a string to a loan or loan guarantee that requires the business to negotiate with unions over worker pay or conditions of employment. This is valid starting on the day the business is first issued the loan and ending a year after the loan is paid off.
Sec. 4026: Within 72 hours of each transaction, the Treasury Secretary must publish on the Treasury Department website a description of the transaction, the date, and the “identity of the counterparty”, the amount of the loan/guarantee/investment, how the price was determined, the interest rate, conditions, and a copy of the final term sheet. The Treasury Secretary also has to report any contracts entered into for the administration of loans or guarantees within 24 hours after the contract is entered into. The Federal Reserve has to issue reports to Congress that will have to be made public on their website within 7 days of the report being delivered to Congress.
Sec. 4027: Appropriates $500 billion
Sec. 4029: The authorities given to the Treasury Secretary and Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve to make loans, loan guarantees, and “investments” in businesses and banks will expire on December 31, 2020.
Subtitle B - Air Carrier Worker Support
Sec. 4112: The Secretary of the Treasury “shall” give money to airlines and the contractors that work with them which “shall exclusively be used for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits”. Passenger air carriers will get $25 billion, cargo airlines $4 billion, and contractors will get $3 billion.
Sec. 4113: The employees will have to be paid whatever rate they were paid from April 1, 2019 through September 30, 2019. Steven Mnuchin will decide all terms and conditions, other than the ones set by section 4114, 4115, and 4116. The payments have to start to be made within 10 days of enactment. The Inspector General of the Treasury Department will have to audit the certifications made by the companies about employee salary and benefit rates.
Sec. 4114: Airlines or contractors that take the money can’t furlough their workers or reduce their wages or benefits until September 30, 2020, they can’t buy stock in their company or parent company, or pay out dividends. The Secretary of Transportation is also given authorization until March 1, 2022 to require only airlines or contractors that take the money to continue service to anywhere that they served as of March 1, 2020.
Sec. 4115: Prohibits the government from attaching a string to a loan or loan guarantee that requires the airline or contractor to negotiate with unions over worker pay or conditions of employment. This is valid starting on the day the business is first issued the loan and ending on September 30, 2020.
Sec. 4116: From March 24, 2020 through March 24, 2022, any airline or contractor that takes the money has to agree that no employee who made more than $425,000 in 2019 will be paid more than what they were paid in 2019, or will receive more than double their 2019 pay as a severance package. Employees that were paid more than $3 million can’t be paid more than $3 million plus half of the amount they were paid over $3 million in 2019. This includes salary, bonuses, stock awards and “other financial benefits”.
Sec. 4117: The Treasury Secretary is allowed, but not required, to accept stock and securities and other “financial instruments” from the airlines and contractors.
Sec. 4120: Appropriates $32 billion.
TITLE V - Coronavirus Relief Funds
Sec. 5001: Appropriates $150 billion for State, tribal and local governments. Amounts will be determined by population but each state will get at least $1.25 billion. Washington D.C. is treated as a territory and all territories will split $3 billion. Tribal governments will split $8 billion. Steven Mnuchin will decide how the tribal government money will be divided. The Inspector General of the Treasury must investigate the receipt, disbursement, and use of funds.
TITLE VI - Miscellaneous Provisions
Sec. 6001: Allows the Postal Service to borrow $10 billion from the Treasury Department.
Division B - Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations
Bureau of Prisons
Sec. 12003: The Secretary of Health and Human Services “shall appropriately consider” distributing personal protective equipment and test kits to the Bureau of Prisons for use by inmates and staff.
Sec. 12005: Authorizes and appropriates $300 million that the Secretary of Commerce can use for direct payments to subsistence, commercial, and charter fishery businesses.
Department of Energy
Sec. 14002: Extends the authority for the Secretary of Energy to sell oil from the strategic petroleum reserve and gives the Department of Energy the authority to sell $900 million worth of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, $450 million in 2021 and 2022, on top of the $450 million they can sell in 2020.
Sec. 15002: Allows for criminal proceedings to be conducted via video teleconferencing until 30 days after the national emergency declaration terminates. It will only be allowed with the consent of the defendant or juvenile after they talk to a lawyer.
Provides $400 million to prepare for the 2020 Federal election cycle, domestically or internationally. The money must be given by the Election Assistance Commission to the states within 30 days. There is no direction on how the money is divided among states. The states have to submit reports on how they use the money. Money not used by December 31, 2020 has to be returned to the Treasury.
Pandemic Response Accountability Committee
Sec. 15010: Creates a Pandemic Response Accountability Committee that will investigate and report on the use of COVID-19 funds through September 2025. The committee will be operated by two full time paid employees and the other members will be inspectors generals from at least 9 federal agencies. The committee will have enforceable subpoena power. The committee is allowed, but not required, to hold public hearings. The committee will have a public website that is required to provide their findings, data, some contracting information, division of COVID-19 funds by state and congressional district, agency plans for use of funds, all recommendations made to the agencies, etc.
Department of Homeland Security
Sec. 16004: Prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from transferring War on Terror funds for the COVID-19 efforts.
Sec. 16006: The Secretary of Homeland Security must extend the REAL-ID deadline until at least September 30, 2021.
Department of Health and Human Services
Provides an additional $27 billion for “developing necessary countermeasures and vaccines, prioritizing platform-based technologies with US based manufacturing capabilities, the purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and necessary medical supplies”. Products purchased by the Federal government must be purchased in accordance with regulations on fair and reasonable pricing, ensuring affordability in the commercial market is optional. The HHS Secretary can not take any action that would slow down the development of the products. $16 billion can be spent on purchasing items for the Strategic National Stockpile. Funds can be used to construct or renovate “US based next generation manufacturing facilities, other than facilities owned by the United States government” in addition to the authority to construct or renovate private facilities that manufacture vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Adds an additional $100 billion to reimburse health care providers - public, private, and for profit - for COVID-19 expenses.
Sec. 18115: Every lab that performs or analyzes a COVID-19 test must report the result of each test to the Secretary of Health and Human Services until the end of the HHS Secretary’s public health declaration with respect of COVID-19.
Sec. 21012: Provides $3 billion for the International Development Association (World Bank), $7.3 billion for the African Development Bank, and authorizes the Treasury “to make loans in an amount not to exceed the dollar equivalent 28,202,470,000 of Special Drawing Rights (which is approximately $38.5 billion as of April 21, 2020)
OTC Drugs Bill Information
58:15 Sen. Johnny Isakson (GA): I'm a victim of melanoma twice. The Surgeon General has issued a report that melanoma is costing America $8.1 billion a year in health. It's a major portion of his most recent statements. I hear very little from the FDA regarding that and we worked hard on the Sunscreen Innovation Act, which passed Congress last year, to try and expedite at the time and extend applications for ingredients to be approved for over the counter sunscreen product. We are still waiting for that to happen. Can you tell me why the FDA is so reluctant to follow through and what Congress passed in terms of the Sunscreen Innovation Act? Margaret Hamburg: Well, we are committed to following through and of course preventing melanoma is a high priority as well as developing exciting new treatments for melanoma, but prevention comes first. We do need to work with industry to get the data that we need to assess safety and effectiveness and that is of course, because these products are used widely, applied often and hopefully with the right amount. Chronically...we need to understand about their absorption of these chemicals, and what that means for safety and efficacy in the individuals using them including, of course, many young children who may be at greater risk in terms of chronic use. So we want to move forward, we want to have the American people have more options in terms of sunscreen products and the protection that it can afford. But we want to work with industry to make sure that the ingredients in those sunscreens actually work and that they're safe, especially for chronic use. Sen. Johnny Isakson (GA): My time is up, but I'd like to urge you to do everything you can to expedite the implementation of those approvals. Thank you very much.
3:33:15 Ed Pierson: My name is Ed Pierson. I retired from the Boeing Company in August of 2018 as a Senior Manager at the 737 Factory in Renton, Washington. On June 9th, 2018 while the Lion Air airplane was being produced, four months before it crashed, I wrote an email to the 737 General Manager advising him to shut down the production line to allow our team time to regroup so we could save some decent planes. During this time frame, 737 Factory was in chaos. Every single factory health metric was getting record low marks, and each one was trending in the wrong direction. Following that e-mail, I requested a one-on-one meeting with the General Manager on July 18th and repeated my recommendation to shut down the factory for a brief period of time. When I mentioned that I've seen operations in the military shut down for lesser safety concerns, I will never forget his response, which was, "The military isn't a profit making organization." Keep in mind that on October 29, 2018 when the Lion Airplane crashed, killing 189 people, it was only two months old. After the crash, I wrote a letter to Boeing's Chairman, President, and CEO, Dennis Muilenburg. Mr. Muilenburg asked his general council to communicate with me and we spoke on three occasions where I renewed my warnings. On February 14th, 2019, the Boeing's Assistant General Council assured me that Boeing had seen nothing that would suggest the existence of embedded quality or safety issues. I wrote a follow up letter with supporting documentation to Boeing's Board of Directors requesting that they take urgent action but received no response. Less than a month later, on March 10th, 2019 the Ethiopians Airlines flight 302 crashed killing 157 people. That airplane was only four months old.
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