|Legislative Alert: Latest Coronavirus Stimulus Package and Biogas Opportunities
Dear ABC Members,
This is an update for ABC members on how Congress’ most recent actions to address the coronavirus outbreak may impact our industry. Today we received an update from senior staff member of the U.S. Senate. Members of Congress remain in their districts, but Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell have continued to negotiate with President Trump’s team. We have been told that a deal has been agreed to and voting will occur by the end of this week. Leaders in the House are trying to come to an agreement to vote remotely allowing members who are present in the chamber to vote via proxy for members who are absent.
Stimulus Package 3.5: Very narrow and still nothing for renewable energy
The main driver of this most recent stimulus package (3.5) is the need to reallocate additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This $349 billion small business forgivable loan program was a part of the CAREs Act which passed Congress late last month. As of April 16, the program had exhausted the previously provided funding.
The current $484 billion package contains $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for coronavirus testing and an additional $320 billion in supplemental funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. Within the $320 billion included for PPP, $60 billion will be set aside for smaller institutions. Democrats had pushed to include funding for cash strapped state and local government but were unable to include these priorities in the current package. Furthermore, the Senate staffer said renewable energy, climate change or infrastructure priorities would not be considered until Congress moves beyond the immediate coronavirus emergency and begins to look beyond to recovery. The Senate passed the bill last night and is sending the measure to the House.
Fourth Stimulus Package
With regard to the Fourth Stimulus Package, there is no clear understanding of when or how Congress will pivot its focus to recovery. As was shared with us, the environment changes day to day and Congress is doing its utmost to respond. Furthermore, members of the Senate Republican Caucus have been less willing to discuss more broad recovery measures due to cost concerns. Nevertheless, House Democratic leadership is soliciting policy initiatives which would assist the economy to recover and rebound including those that would assist the biogas industry. We have continued to share with them ideas such as extensions of tax policies that promote our industry, establishment of the new biogas ITC, reauthorizing the 1603 grant in lieu of tax credit and more funding for Farm Bill energy title program.
Your policy team is continuing to work with Members of Congress and their staff to include our recommendations and stands prepared to push hard for them in the fourth stimulus package. When a Fourth Stimulus Package comes together, we are in a good position to have many of our policy goals and objectives included as a result our long term advocacy work. We remain grateful to our members who supported us in these efforts.
Until then, we’ll do our best to keep you informed. Please stay safe and healthy.
Your ABC Policy Team:
Maureen Walsh, Lobbyist
Patrick Serfass, Executive Director
Amy McCrae Kessler, Policy Co-Chair
Bryan Sievers, Policy Co-Chair
About the American Biogas Council
The American Biogas Council is the only national trade association representing the entire biogas industry in the U.S. We represent over 200 companies in all parts of the biogas supply chain who are dedicated to maximizing the production and use of biogas from organic waste. Biogas systems protect our air, water and soil by recycling organic material, like food waste and manure, into renewable energy and soil products. Learn more online at www.AmericanBiogasCouncil.org, Twitter @ambiogascouncil, and LinkedIn.