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PPP to Prioritize Small Businesses as Congress Considers Additional COVID-19 Relief

Earlier this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program intended to help small businesses secure loans.
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ppp to prioritize small businesses as congress considers additional covid-19 relief

Earlier this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced they were making several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to ensure the inclusivity and integrity of the program. The SBA hopes the changes will provide some of the nation's smallest businesses a leg up on securing PPP loans.

Specifically, the SBA will:

  • Establish a 14-day, exclusive PPP loan application period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP's funding formula.
  • Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior, non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal.
  • Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make federal student loan payments by eliminating federal student loan debt delinquency and default as disqualifiers to participating in the PPP.
  • Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number to apply. 

While the exclusive 14-day period for our nation's smallest businesses started yesterday, Feb. 24, the other changes will be implemented by the end of next week. The SBA is working on these changes and will communicate more details as they become available.

In additional COVID-19 relief news, as of press time, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to consider President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package on Friday in what is expected to be a largely partisan vote.

The legislation would provide an additional $1,400 in stimulus checks to eligible Americans and $400 a week in supplemental federal unemployment aid. The bill would also provide assistance to those who want to remain on their employer health insurance plans through COBRA by allowing laid-off workers to pay only 15% of their premium through to the end of September 2021.

The legislation would provide an additional $7.25 billion for the PPP and an additional $15 billion in aid through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Biden's plan would also raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, end the tipped minimum wage and the sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities. Additionally, the plan also calls for $350 billion in funding for state and local governments, $20 billion for a national vaccine program and $50 billion for COVID-19 testing. 

Assuming the House passes the COVID-19 relief legislation, the U.S. Senate is expected to consider the legislation using the reconciliation process, which only needs 50 votes for passage. It is important to note that the Senate parliamentarian could deem some provisions ineligible under the reconciliation process, which could cause them to be removed from the bill. 

The Big “I" will continue to provide its members with updates through the News & Views e-newsletter.

Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs.

Thursday, February 25, 2021
On the Hill