Chamber calls for canceling payroll taxes, expanding loan programs amid coronavirus

Chamber calls for canceling payroll taxes, expanding loan programs amid coronavirus
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on Congress and the Trump administration Monday to cancel payroll taxes, streamline loan programs for small businesses and enable the creation of credit facilities to provide loans in an effort to mitigate coronavirus economic effects.

The powerful business lobby sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBottom line This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Women suffering steeper job losses in COVID-19 economy MORE (D-Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Americans debate life under COVID-19 risks The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Democratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies MORE (R-Ky.) with its recommendations, the first of which is to cancel payment of all payroll taxes that would have been paid by employers for the months of March, April and May.

“Temporarily cancelling the collection of these taxes will reduce the cost for employers for continuing to pay employees regardless of whether they are working or on sick leave and increase liquidity for employers to help them respond to losses in revenue,” Chamber CEO Tom Donohue wrote in the letter.

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The second proposal would allow the disaster loan program through the Small Business Association (SBA) to be available to businesses with fewer than 500 employers immediately and nationwide. 

The third proposal would enable the government to work with banks to establish a system of credit facilities that would provide loans and loan guarantees to businesses with more than 500 employees.

“Taken together, these three steps, in addition to the other actions outlined in the appendix to this letter, will ensure that businesses of all sizes and across all sectors have increased liquidity and access to necessary financing to help them weather the temporary loss in revenue caused by the Coronavirus,” Donohue wrote. 

The Chamber said they support the efforts made by Congress and the White House so far. The Senate on Monday is taking up a House-passed bill that would ensure paid sick or family leave, bolster unemployment insurance and guarantee testing for the coronavirus.

Lawmakers are also negotiating additional legislation that would a provide tax rebate, payroll tax cut and small business loans, among other measures.

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“The Chamber believes that, for almost all businesses, this is a temporary event. Much of the spending and investment forgone today will take place when the pandemic subsides. It is critical at this moment that the federal government assists individuals, families, and businesses as they traverse this period of lost income,” Donohue wrote.

He added, “No family and no business should go bankrupt just because of the temporary disruption in income caused by the Coronavirus.”

There are at least 3,600 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 66 deaths, according to data compiled by The New York Times.