On Monday, Senate Republicans announced their plans for another wave of paycheck protection programs as a part of the HEALS Act. They want the “hardest hit small employer” to be able to get a second loan.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said he is largely on board with how Republicans made their proposal during a Yahoo Finance interview on Tuesday.
Cardin noted that there are “a lot of similarities” between his Democratic plan and the Republican plan.
Cardin pushed for a second wave of long-term PPP lending and said in an interview with Yahoo Finance in May that “8 weeks is not going to be enough.” Cardin is the lead Democrat on the Senate Small Business Committee, overseeing the program with the Small Business Administration and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The PPP program was created with $ 349 billion in funding when the CARES Act was signed in March. Then in April it was given an additional $ 310 billion. As of Monday, the program had given approximately $ 520 billion in excusable debt.
“When Senators Rubio, Cardin, Shaheen and I developed the program back in March, we had no idea how long the economic shutdown would last to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Sen. Susan Collins (R- ME) said in his comment Monday.
In the GOP scheme, businesses with fewer than 300 employees have seen revenue declines of 50% or more, they will have access to loans. Cardin pointed to a point of conversation that wrote: “The Republican bill has 300, our bill has 100 or less,” he said.
Apart from a second loan option, lawmakers also want to simplify the debt forgiveness process. According to the bill’s summary, borrowers will have significantly less paperwork to fill, especially for loans under $ 150,000; But businesses must maintain their records because the SBA has the “authority to review and audit these loans to ensure against fraud.”
In a statement released soon after Collins and Rubio spoke, Consumer Hunters Association President and CEO Richard Hunt discussed in more detail how the loan forgiveness process would work. Hunt said that the most basic current process requires a small business to have significant resources, and that “Congress should improve pardon language by providing crystal-clear, prescriptive guidance.”
Cardin has taken SBA forward to be more transparent about the program. “I am eager to get additional information collected during the debt forgiveness process to help us understand how PPP is reaching small businesses in smaller communities,” he said recently.
The GOP plan includes new provisions for businesses that can spend business PPP money. Sen. Collins mentioned that businesses would be able to improve their HVAC systems, buy masks or use the money for things like plexiglass shields, or add outdoor seating to encourage social disturbances.
Summary of the plan notes other permitted uses such as upgrading human resources or accounting systems or costs related to recent social unrest.
Rubio recently stated that the GOP’s plan would set aside money for employers, with 10 employees or fewer, to ensure that a group of small businesses do not receive money without assistance. Focus on micro businesses with 10 employees or less.
Even if both parties reach agreement on the final details of PPP loans, implementation will certainly have to wait for a larger – and much more prickly – incentive bill. Most Senate leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) warns that the process may take a few weeks.
August 8 is an important deadline for MPs focused on PPP – as it stands now, that when the program will no longer be able to accept new applications. However, the long wait, Cardin is optimistic that “if we can get a bill for the finish line, that it will include a second round for the PPP.”
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