-new updates- COVID19 Resources for IBA Members
Updated: 5 days ago
The Independent Bakers Association approaches the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with a dual mission: preserving the supply of baked goods to American consumers and protecting the health and safety of IBA member-companies, their staff and families. We will attain these goals by keeping up-do-date resources available on this webpage and by engaging Congress, federal agencies and state governments to promote IBA members' needs.
*new* Party leaders in the House and Senate began negotiating the next legislative step to help rebuild America’s economy today. After hearing input from pro-business groups, economists, state leaders and the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a $1T proposal to provide further aid to healthcare workers, small businesses, schools and state agencies, among others.
IBA was pleased to see key provisions of the bill that will protect and bolster the baking industry. One of the most valuable proposals is targeted liability protection for food manufacturers and other essential frontline businesses that operated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also includes tax incentives to help manufacturers retain employees, as well as invest in PPE and other safety measures.
The Senate’s HEALS Act is a stark contrast to the almost $3T HEROES Act passed by the House in May. While party leaders generally agree further direct stimulus payments would benefit the average American, Leader McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) are certain to spar over the future of federal funding to supplement state unemployment benefits, which will expire this week. Despite states’ phased reopening, unemployment remains at unprecedented levels across the country. IBA and other pro-business advocates continue to ask Congress to ensure that any ongoing increase in unemployment benefits doesn’t disincentivize workers from returning to a job that is now open.
Congress’ annual extended recess is scheduled for the majority of August, though McConnell has a history of shortening the time-frame in order to push legislation over the finish line. With another recess approaching pre-Election Day, IBA expects congressional leaders will want to secure a compromise. We will continue to promote our issue priorities in both chambers as negotiations ramp up. For more details on specific proposals, contact Andrea Hart by replying to this message.
Though President Donald Trump signed emergency legislation to supplement the CARES Act, smaller businesses still face economic uncertainty. Banks predict extra PPP funds was exhausted by the end of May and states are already calling for more funding to implement widespread diagnostic and antibody testing--a crucial step before fully reopening America's Main Streets. If your company has been unable to secure PPP funding despite applying, please contact IBA President Nick Pyle.
Manufacturers are reporting confusion about another CARES Act provision-a business tax credit for employee retention. A for-profit business or tax-exempt organization can claim a refundable payroll tax credit of up to $5,000 per employee for wages paid between March 12 and December 31, 2020, but only for wages paid during a calendar quarter in which the business is either: 1) shut down by government order, or 2) experiencing a large drop in year-over-year gross receipts.
The credit may be offset in advance against anticipated payroll tax deposits, leaving more cash in the hands of the business throughout the remainder of 2020. Though the IRS provides on going guidance, businesses report hurdles in applying for and implementing the credit. Food industry advocates and other pro-business groups are urging Congress to address the situation in its next COVID-19 response legislation.
The Independent Bakers Association shared its top legislative priorities with staff of more then 50 House and Senate offices on May 11. The four recommendations in the outline stem from consensus among those on IBA's April telemeeting as well as direct input from several IBA member-companies.
As party leaders slowly develop their next COVID-19 response packages, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spar over logistical and policy priorities. Now that the urgency which bore the first response bills has dwindled, both parties are gathering momentum to push for their pre-COVID-19 agendas. The prognosis for a final compromise bill by the Memorial Day recess is grim.
IBA will discuss the legislative and regulatory outlook in detail at our virtual Annual Convention in June.
*new* Resources for IBA Members
updated August 6, 2020