Squeezed between a shrinking economy, an anxious electorate and a desire to return to their home countries for the holidays, Congress appears to be making progress on a relief bill introduced by the Senate yesterday.
The bill, titled the ‘Emergency Coronavirus Relief Act, 2020’, is the right mix of compromises that reignited negotiations that most said were unlikely to happen during the ‘duck’ session. lame “.
After concluding a meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “Leaders are staying in town. until there is an agreement. So there is an agreement to reach an agreement.
The bus and coach industry is keenly interested in the inclusion of the CERTS Act. Reading the legislative text reveals this brief overview:
The “CERTS Act” wording in the relief bill directs the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation, to make grants, loans, and loan guarantees.
- The bill assigns warranties to qualifying transportation service providers (highway buses, private school bus contractors, and U.S.-flagged passenger vessels) that have suffered a significant loss of revenue as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19, $8 billion for fiscal year 2021.
- The Secretary of the Treasury considers information provided by the transportation service provider, including — the amount of debt owed by the transportation service provider on major equipment, if any; other sources of federal assistance provided to the transportation service provider, if any; and such other information as the secretary may require.
- The Secretary to the Treasury ensures that at least 50% of the amounts made available are used to make grants.
- The provision puts a huge emphasis on the compensation of employees and their return to the payroll.
- The Secretary of the Treasury will require that (with some exceptions) a transport service provider agree to use an amount equal to at least 60% of the funds, on the payroll costs of the transport service provider.
- Recipients will begin to use the funds – on a priority basis and as available, to maintain during the applicable Covered Period, the salary cost expenses of all employees from the date of promulgation.
- After salary costs, other eligible expenses for assistance include the acquisition of services, equipment (including personal protective equipment and other measures necessary to protect workers and customers against COVID-19) , continued operations and maintenance during the applicable Covered Period of existing and facilitated capital assets, including rent, leases, insurance and interest on debt service.
There are many more caveats and conditions, and if passed, we won’t know the full scope of eligibility, application process, distribution of the $8 billion, etc., until the Secretary of the Treasury will not have completed the rule-making process.
Reprinted with permission from Bus & Motocoach News. Read it original post.