Thompson, Kind, Panetta, Horsford Join to Release Keeping the Lights On Act of 2020

May 8, 2020
Press Release
Bill addresses economic crisis by providing fully refundable tax credit for critical business costs like rent and utilities

Washington – Today Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05), Rep. Ron Kind (WI-03), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), and Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04) announced the Keeping the Lights On Act of 2020. The bill, which will be introduced in the next pro-forma session, provides Federal support to businesses in order to cover essential fixed costs—rent, utility, and mortgage payments—during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“While Congress has acted quickly to address the current health and economic crisis, our businesses and workers still need help. Our small and medium-sized companies struggle not just to meet payroll, but to pay ongoing fixed costs such as rent, utilities, and mortgage payments,” said Thompson. “I’ve heard stories from businesses across our district, and our country that this assistance would be the difference between staying open in the future and closing for good. The more we support these businesses now and the more we help their workers, the more we increase the chances for a successful recovery of our entire Main Street economy.”

“I am pleased that this important legislation includes the ideas from my bipartisan Small Business Assistance Act. With businesses facing unprecedented closures and uncertainty we need to take common sense steps to help businesses afford basic expenses like rent and utilities,” said Kind. “While initial steps were critical for a number of businesses throughout our communities our work for Wisconsin’s small businesses will not be done until this crisis is over and we’ve helped our communities recover.”

“With ongoing stay-at-home orders in place, small business owners across the Central Coast are struggling to pay expenses like rent, utilities, and mortgage interest,” said Panetta. “The Keeping the Lights On Act will help preserve our small businesses so that they can survive this crisis and remain an important part of our communities.”

“Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of Nevada’s economy. While we’ve worked to create loans to help these businesses make payroll and cover some operation costs, we must also ensure they are able to continue paying their bills until we are able to reopen our country’s economy,” Horsford said. “Providing support for rent or mortgages, utilities and other necessities is crucial to helping the mom and pop shops that make our communities unique and keeping the doors open in businesses across the country that represent the unwavering determination of American businessmen and -women.”

The Keeping the Lights on Act of 2020 builds on existing programs to provide immediate relief through the tax code to small and medium-sized businesses for keeping critical business infrastructure in place. Specifically, the bill creates a new, fully refundable payroll tax credit that covers 50 percent of fixed costs for businesses that have either 1,500 or fewer employees, or $41.5 million or less in gross receipts. The bill is meant to complement other legislative efforts to help businesses weather the crisis, including Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s (FL-07) bipartisan JOBS Credit Act of 2020, which provides an enhanced refundable payroll tax credit for paying employee wages and health expenses.

You can click here to read a summary of Keeping the Lights On Act and click here to read the text of the legislation.


Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means where he chairs the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Rep. Thompson is Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He is also Co-Chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus and a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition.