Friendly Incentive Package for House Pass Creators | Advocacy
Lawmakers continue to work to refine their legislative relief efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, the Recording Academy and the wider music community have also continued their advocacy efforts to ensure that creators are considered and supported by these legislative updates to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES). Let’s take a closer look at how Congress does this and what it means for music creators …
Paycheque Protection Program is remixed
On June 5, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) of 2020 (HR 7010) in the law. The law enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan and bicameral support, passing the House by an overwhelming 417-1 vote and the Senate by unanimous consent.
Adopting this update is a welcome sign for music creators, many of whom were struggling to understand the complex and ever-changing program and use the Paycheck Protection Loan to its fullest. The technical fix modifies the rules governing loan forgiveness extending the spending requirement from eight to 24 weeks, lowering the percentage of the loan to be spent on payroll from 75 to 60 percent, and extending the June 30 deadline to rehire laid-off workers.
Independent creators = small businesses
The CARES Act originally included freelance designers in the benefits offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The Academy has been working aggressively on Capitol Hill to make sure these new SBA programs stay funded and provide relief to freelancers, keeping creators in the mix.
Before the technical solution was adopted, Congress had already allocated additional funding to ensure that the program could meet the needs of as many small businesses as possible, including independent creators. And, to further empower the SBA, the House Small Business Committee held hearings on PPP loans and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) special grant program.
Representatives Judy Chu (D-Calif.) And Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) Both expressed the importance of making these SBA programs work for the creative workforce and independent artists, including economic disaster loans (EIDL).
“The SBA’s administration of EIDL has been unacceptable at a time when small businesses need this relief more than ever.” noted Chu Rep. “Independent and independent contractors are an important part of the Southern California economy and they have been affected by the SBA’s cap on EIDL emergency grants of $ 1,000 per employee. This cap simply does not reflect the intention of Congress. “
Representative Gomez spoke about the challenges creative professionals face in his district in obtaining relief.
“[Southern California] is home to many talented artists and creators who enable our film, television and theater industries to thrive, ”he said noted. “Like other freelancers and freelancers, they are still waiting to apply for UI in the event of a pandemic, and if they applied for a paycheck protection loan, they were the last in line.”
“It needs to be improved by meeting the unique needs of the self-employed, like many who work in the creative industries,” said representative Chu. Explain. “SBA regulations limiting EIDL emergency grants to $ 1,000 per employee and requiring 75% of loan cancellation to apply to salary costs do not account for self-employed workers who may spend that much.” for expenses like health insurance or rent they do it for their wages. “
These concerns are not limited to the creative community in California. Similar concerns about PPP and EIDL have been raised by lawmakers in other hearings with senior administration officials since May, including Senator Sinema (D-Arizona) who asked the Treasury Sec . Mnuchin why the EIDL was moved internally to just $ 1,000 per employee without congressional approval. On June 10, Senator Romney (R-Utah) asked Sec. Mnuchin in a separate hearing on the need for additional stimulus funding, while Senator Collins (R-Maine) referred to expanding the PPP for industries that continue to struggle.
For many music creators, making a living in their profession requires professional creativity in addition to artistic creativity. Many hold multiple jobs and play multiple roles in the music economy. Fortunately, Rep. Chu and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Along with more than 20 House members, sent a letter to House leadership. request additional protections for self-employed workers with multiple types of income in future coronavirus legislation.
Over the past week Hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Sec. Scalia echoed some of Reps Chu and Schiff’s arguments on behalf of multi-income workers. When asked by Senator Warner (D-Va.) To confirm that underemployed freelancers are covered by the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA), Sec. Scalia applauded the inclusion of freelance and gig worker protections in the CARES Act and said he believed the Department of Labor had addressed the issues freelancers faced when they initially applied for PUA benefits.
Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) also raised the issue of the high and sustained unemployment rate in the hospitality and entertainment industry, asking the secretary about the department’s plans for future financial assistance to workers in the concerts. These protections are crucial, because as President and Interim CEO of the Recording Academy Harvey mason jr appropriately declared, “music is the original” concert economy. “
Clearly, there is still a long way to go for the music industry and other creative industries to recover from the economic devastation caused by COVID-19, but by remaining active in advocacy, the Recording Academy is watching. that the creatives are taken into account. You can add your voice to the chorus by contact your legislators and ask for their support from creators in these difficult times.
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