The House and Senate were not in session this week.
The House and the Senate canceled next week's session on Wednesday. The chambers also extended the committee deadline (the deadline for moving House bills out of the committee to the floor) to April 24. The Senate has extended the third reading deadline for Senate bills to May 7. The House has extended the third reading deadline to May 8, which will be a scheduled session day.
It is very unclear when the General Assembly will return to Springfield. Chamber leaders have said to expect a very limited agenda when they do return, one that focuses on the budget and Covid-19 relief.
Federal Stimulus Package
Yesterday the United States Senate passed the CARES Act which provides over $2 trillion in economic stimulus to help offset some of the economic damage wrought by the COVID-19 virus. Despite objections from a small handful of Congressmen, the House is expected to approve the measure today. A sampling of the important business relief in the bill:
- Provides nearly $350 billion in federally guaranteed loans via the Paycheck Protection Program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.
- Allows the Paycheck Protection Program to cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
- Provides $17 billion in small business debt relief by requiring the Small Business Administration to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products for six months to provide relief to small businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus.
- Provides $10 billion for expanded eligibility for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, including emergency grants, an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations.
More information can be found in the articles linked below.
Virtual Council Meeting
This week, the Chamber has hosted presentations from SBA Regional Director Bo Steiner on COVID Disaster loans and State Treasurer Michael Frerichs on state relief programs. Next week we plan to have Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12) to talk about the CARES Act and Erin Guthrie, Director of DECO.
I was initially planning to have an in-person council meeting next month to talk about pending legislation in Springfield. With this pandemic, it is now unclear not only what legislation might move, or when the GA will meet again, but also when it will be safe to meet in groups at all. In the spirit of social distancing, would there be interest in the council for a virtual meeting? I'd also welcome any suggestions for topics or speakers.
Economic Trends in the Wake of COVID-19 Webinar
The Illinois Chamber of Commerce will be presenting a webinar (put on by the International Business Council and Venkat Veeramani, SVP of Risk Management at Wintrust) on Friday, April 3, 2020. Topics will include the following:
U.S. economic activity is all set to decline sharply. Is the recovery going to be 'V', 'U', 'L' shaped or something else?
- general economic and financial market indicators,
- COVID-19 Pandemic's short-term and long-term impacts on the U.S. economy,
- demand/supply/capacity disruptions and its economic/financial consequences, and
- fiscal and monetary policy measures enacted around the globe to cope with the situation.
Members can register for $59 at this