By Mark Valentini, Director of Legislative Affairs
Over the weekend, Congress came to an agreement on the next COVID package, which is attached to the FY2021 spending bill. It passed the House and Senate yesterday and is en route to the White House for President Trump’s signature. After months of vigorous advocacy on behalf of plumbing and HVAC contractors, PHCC has secured many of our policy priorities in the 116th Congress.
Bad news first: liability protection is not included in this round of relief. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell insisted that no further relief would pass without this provision. However, Democrats could not support the bill with liability protection while Republicans could not support the bill if it included the hundreds of billions in state and local aid that Democrats wanted. Inclusion of either or both provisions was simply not an option, and therefore both provisions were dropped in an effort to move the bill forward. Please note that these two issues have prevented passage of this bill since mid-summer and neither side was going to budge. Congress may revisit these issues next year should another round of COVID relief be warranted.
Now the good news: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be extended through the end of March 2021. Additionally, the PPP has been expanded to include a “second draw” program for small businesses that continue to struggle even after pulling a PPP loan. 501(c)6 organizations such as PHCC and its state and local chapters will be eligible for PPP loans, so long as lobbying expenditures do not exceed $1 million and no more than 15% of the association’s activities are lobbying-related. Most importantly, small businesses will be able to make deductions for qualified expenses made with PPP funds.
Furthermore, Section 179D related to energy efficient tax credits for commercial entities will be made permanent and adjusted for inflation. Section 25C related to residential energy efficient tax credits is extended for another year. The AIM Act will also be part of the package, which means in the HVACR sector there will be a timeframe for the phase-down in use of HFCs and transition to the next generation of refrigerants, and also prevent other states from setting their own phase-down/transition schedules now that a federal standard will be in place.
Please do not hesitate to contact Mark Valentini, PHCC Director of Legislative Affairs and Chuck White, PHCC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns.
Have a wonderful holiday season and a successful new year!
Director of Legislative Affairs , PHCC-National Association