Congress enacts a $2 trillion stimulus bill to address the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Aside from direct payments to American workers and an expansion of unemployment benefits, the bill offers small businesses $377 billion in aid.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) worked together to build a small business emergency economic relief plan. The plan provides small businesses with means to manage payroll and expenses, and receive education and assistance throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act is Division A of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
“The unprecedented crisis facing our nation’s small businesses and their employees require an immediate, bold response,” Chairman Rubio says in a press release. “I am confident that we have assembled a bipartisan emergency relief package that will get cash to small businesses, and the Americans they employ, that desperately need it during this pandemic.”
Ranking Member Cardin adds, “Congress has a duty to ensure that America’s 30 million small businesses, and the 60 million people they employ, are not forced to bear the financial costs of keeping our communities safe on their own. I am grateful that Chairman Rubio, Senators Collins and Shaheen, and I were able to reach a bipartisan agreement to include $377 billion in support for small businesses in the stimulus.”
According to the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act does the following:
- Creates the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.
- Allows the Paycheck Protection Program to cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
- Provides $265 million for grants to offer counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19 to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers and $10 million for the Minority Business Development Agency’s Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce.
- Allows for expedited access to capital by establishing a $10 billion program for small businesses who have applied for an EIDL loan to request an advance of up to $10,000 on the loan to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, and other debt obligations.
- Requires SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all new and existing SBA loan products, including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for six months, and provides $17 billion for this purpose.
For more information from the committee, visit www.sbc.senate.gov.