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Newsletter: Supporting our small businesses

This newsletter was sent to WA-10 constituents on Wednesday, April 8th. If you'd like to recieve regular updates like this, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter.


Over the past several weeks, millions applied for unemployment benefits—numbers that are sadly without precedent in American history.

I am proud that Congress has significantly expanded unemployment benefits to all manner of workers for the duration of the crisis. If you missed my last message about resources that are available to individuals and families during this crisis, including significantly expanded unemployment insurance and a direct payment of up to $1200, I encourage you to read it.


However, it’s every bit as important to ensure that workers don’t need to file for unemployment by helping companies keep employees on payroll in the first place. And once the pandemic subsides, we need to make sure our economy is primed to be reopened quickly and efficiently. 

That starts with keeping our small businesses afloat through this crisis. Countless small businesses across the South Sound have been upended by the pandemic, through no fault of their own. Small businesses are the engine of our economy, and Congress has passed several major provisions to assist them during this challenging time. 

Tomorrow, April 9th, at 5pm PT, I will be holding a Facebook Live town hall on small business assistance with Kerrie Hurd, District Director for the Small Business Administration. If you have a question you’d like answered, please submit it on Facebook, Twitter, or my website, and we’ll get through as many as we can. You'll be able to tune in by visiting my Facebook page

Facebook Live town hall with SBA

The most recent stimulus law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, included more than $350 billion in assistance available to small businesses. Here are a few of the provisions we’ll be discussing tomorrow: 

Paycheck Protection Program

The CARES Act created a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that will provide small businesses with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million. The program provides cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the PPP loans would be forgiven—helping workers remain employed, and enabling our economy to snap-back quicker after the crisis.

  • If business retains employees at their salary level, up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs will be forgiven.
  • Principal and interest are deferred for up to a year and all borrower fees are waived.
  • This temporary emergency assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Treasury can be used in coordination with other COVID-financing assistance established in the bill or any other existing SBA loan program.
  • These loans will be available through June 30, 2020

To learn more about the Paycheck Protection Program and find eligible lenders, visit the SBA’s page on this program.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans

Small businesses in all fifty states are also eligible to apply for Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loans. These disaster loans can help supplement the Paycheck Protection Program. 

  • The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

In addition, all small business owners in the U.S. are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000 to help with expenses like payroll, sick leave, rent or mortgages. These advances do not need to be repaid under any circumstances. To learn more about Economic Injury Disaster Loans and apply, visit the SBA’s page on this program

Small Business Debt Relief

The CARES Act also includes relief for non-emergency SBA loans, including 7(a), 504 and microloans. Under this program, the SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest and fees on those SBA loans for six months. This relief will also automatically apply to any SBA 7(a), 504 or microloan issued prior to September 27, 2020. To learn more, visit the SBA’s page on this program.


Continuing our conversation

My Facebook Live town hall with the Commissioner of Washington State’s Employment Security Department, Suzi LeVine, has been rescheduled to Monday, April 13th at 2pm PT. We’ll be answering your questions on the assistance available to individuals and families through the pandemic.

My next FB Live town hall will be at 2pm on Monday, April 13th.

And I hope you’ll join me and Kerrie Hurd of the Small Business Administration at our Facebook Live town hall. If you have questions on small business assistance, I encourage you to submit them on Facebook, Twitter, or through my website. I look forward to continuing our conversation tomorrow.

Take care of yourself and be kind to others—together, we can keep our South Sound community healthy. 

Sincerly,

Denny Heck