Newsletter: COVID-19 relief: Replenishing small business aid
This newsletter was sent to WA-10 constituents on Tuesday, April 28th. If you'd like to recieve regular updates like this, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter.
Last Thursday, the House of Representatives voted on the fourth package to provide aid and relief during the coronavirus pandemic: the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. On Friday, the President signed this bill into law.
This package has two main focuses: investments in public health and support for small businesses.
First, this package redoubles our efforts towards containing the virus.
This bill includes $75 billion towards hospitals and frontline health care workers to help cover the extraordinary expenses they’ve incurred during the pandemic and for obtaining vital supplies including Personal Protective Equipment. In addition, Congress has directed $25 billion towards coronavirus testing. If we are to contain the spread of the virus, we must adopt a comprehensive plan of testing, tracing and quarantining patients—and this is a critical first step towards realizing that goal.
Our economic crisis is a public health crisis, and we will only be able to help get workers and families back on their feet after we first defeat the virus.
Second, this package strengthens many of the provisions included in the previous COVID-19 relief bill, the CARES Act, to help small businesses maintain payroll and pay their bills.
The CARES Act included $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and as the crisis has continued, this bill replenishes the PPP with an additional $310 billion. The PPP provides businesses with zero-fee, federally guaranteed loans of up to $10 million for small businesses to maintain their payroll through the crisis. If employers keep their workers on payroll, their PPP loan will be forgiven—helping keep workers employed and enabling our economy to snap back quicker after the crisis.
In addition, it includes an additional $50 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Emergency Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). These loans can provide up to $2 million in assistance and offer economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Small businesses are the backbone of our community and our economy.
We know that small businesses are engines of innovation, and that they are responsible for two out of every three new jobs. We also know that they’ve borne the brunt of the economic disruption left in the pandemic’s wake.
Every small business that we can keep intact is one that doesn’t need to be rebuilt from scratch after the crisis. Every worker that we can keep on payroll is one that can avoid the disruption and pain of unemployment. Programs like PPP and EIDL are critical to keeping small businesses and workers afloat through the pandemic, and Congress must ensure that they remain properly funded and that the SBA is equipped with the resources needed to administer this aid as quickly as possible.
As this law comes into effect and these programs are replenished, I wanted to answer some common questions I’ve received on the small business provisions included in the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act:
How do I apply for a PPP loan?
The PPP is a private-public partnership, and all loans are issued by participating commercial lenders. You can find a list of participating lenders on the SBA’s website.
We know that many lenders are overwhelmed as they process PPP applications – consider contacting the SBA, who can direct you to another lender to make sure you receive service.
Do businesses that employ part-time employees qualify for the PPP and EIDL?
As long as you meet the SBA’s small business size standard, you will be eligible for SBA assistance. In most cases, if your business employs 500 full-time equivalents or fewer, you will be eligible for SBA assistance like the PPP and EIDL.
I am a small business owner and file my taxes as such. I do not pay myself as an employee. Can I file for unemployment or SBA coronavirus assistance?
As a small business owner, if you pay yourself in any form, whether it’s commissions, withdrawals or regular wages, you can apply for unemployment. If you have employees, you can also apply for both EIDL and PPP.
Read more about applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance here.
As a small business owner, can I apply for both EIDL and the PPP?
Small businesses can apply for both EIDL and PPP loans, but you will need to use them for different purposes. You must use at least 75% of your PPP loan for payroll for your PPP loan will be completely forgiven. As a result, the SBA typically recommends applying PPP loans first towards payroll, and then using the EIDL as a supplement for other expenses, such as mortgage payments.
Are the PPP and EIDL loans available for a 501(c)(3) organization?
Yes, both EIDL and the PPP are available for 501(c)(3)s and 501(c)(19s) (veteran service organizations). If you are interested in applying for the PPP, the Small Business Administration recommends that you contact your bank – you must have a checking account to be able to receive a PPP loan.
Have a question that wasn't answered here? Check out my Facebook Live town hall with the SBA where we answered questions from South Sound constituents on the assistance available to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am pleased that Congress has recommitted to supporting our small businesses through the pandemic, but our work is far from complete.
We must continue prioritizing public health until the virus is defeated. We need to support the local, state and tribal governments that are on the front lines of fighting this pandemic and fulfilling essential services to our most vulnerable communities. We need to get relief to renters and homeowners, and ensure that every American has a safe place to shelter during the crisis – without a pillow, blanket and roof, no American can hope to isolate themselves from the disease or the financial devastation to come.
The coronavirus has already taken a steep toll on families, workers and businesses across the country. Just as no corner of this country has gone untouched by this crisis, Congress must also ensure that our economic response does not leave anyone behind.
This is as daunting a challenge as any our nation has faced during my lifetime, and I am grateful to tackle it together with you. Stay healthy and safe during this difficult time.