Are you a small business owner who applied for the Paycheck Protection Program?
Having trouble accessing funds?
Believe it or not, the funding provided for the Paycheck Protection Program that launched in early April is out of money.
That’s right, $350 billion in PPP funding ran out in 14 days!
We are in a public health crisis and economic crisis, both of which are taking an insurmountable toll on individuals, families, jobs and businesses.
After days of negotiation between Senate Republicans and Democrats, the severity of this crisis galvanized the White House, House and Senate to reach a deal on interim COVID funding.
Let’s call this bill COVID #3.5/H.R.266, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act includes the following provisions:
- Paycheck Protection Program. $310 billion to replenish the PPP. Roughly $60 billion of that total will be allocated to small lenders and community banks. The Paycheck Protection Program was created by Congress in the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to small business to stave off the financial challenges created by the pandemic.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans. $60 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, intended to reach communities and small businesses in underserved areas. The bill also deems “agricultural enterprises” such as farms eligible for EIDL grants and loans.
- Hospitals. In addition to the $100 billion in funding for hospitals in the CARES Act, this legislation provides an additional $75 billion for hospitals.
- Testing. The capacity and capability to test more Americans for COVID-19 has been the subject of debate since the crisis started. This legislation provides $25 billion to expand testing capacity, of which $11 billion will be allocated to states.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed the bill, H.R 266, by unanimous consent by Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats to pass the bill.
The House could not get unanimous consent due to Republican objections to the legislation, so Members of the House traveled back to Washington for today’s vote. The House passed H.R. 266, by a vote of 388-5, a strong bi-partisan vote.
The bill now goes to President Trump, who will sign the bill into law.
Requiring House Members to travel back to Washington to vote during the pandemic is fast-tracking concerns about how to protect Members in the halls of Congress.
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the average age of the 435 Members of the House currently serving the 116th Congress is 57.6years. The average of the 100 Senators currently serving the 116th Congress is 62.9 years.
House Democratic Leadership is engaged in conversations with House Republicans about changes to House Rules that allow remote voting and remote, virtual Committee hearings during this time of crisis.
In addition to today’s passage of H.R. 266, the House also passed a resolution creating a Select Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee by a vote 212 – 182. The Subcommittee will have oversight of the nation’s COVID-19 response including programs and funds provided by Congress.
Check the blog for more updates about Congressional actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic.