An ACRA delegation meets in a Congressional office to discuss car rental issues during the 2019 Day on the Hill meetings, which took place Sept. 23-25. - Photo by Chris Brown.

An ACRA delegation meets in a Congressional office to discuss car rental issues during the 2019 Day on the Hill meetings, which took place Sept. 23-25.

Photo by Chris Brown.

The American Car Rental Association (ACRA) has signed on to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce joint letter supporting the Senate’s “Safe to Work” proposal, which includes liability protections for entities and individuals from lawsuits related to the coronavirus pandemic.  

Titled “Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees to Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy (Safe to Work) Act,” the proposal is part of a $1 trillion package of bills in the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability, and Schools (HEALS) Act.  

Introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the Safe to Work Act creates liability protections for businesses, healthcare providers, and schools. Protections would be retroactive from December 1, 2019 through October 1, 2024.  

There are other provisions of note in HEALS for car rental companies.  

Included in the tax section of the Senate HEALS proposal is a provision to permit companies to take a partial payroll tax deduction for cleaning expenses related to COVID-19. ACRA has sought, is reviewing, and likely will support this provision, said Gregory Scott, ACRA’s lobbyist. 

The HEALS proposal also contains modifications to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which would permit small businesses to apply for a second forgivable PPP loan. Some new PPP rules for this round tighten qualification requirements, Scott said.  

The HEALS proposal also includes an additional $10 billion in support for airports but does not include relief for airport concessionaires for rent or minimum airport guarantees (MAGs), which ACRA continues to seek.   

Senate Democrats have yet to weigh in on the proposal. “This a long way from becoming law given the position of House and Senate Democrats,” Scott said. “But there are some positive things in the Senate proposal for the car rental industry.” 

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