Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and a member of the Small Business Task Force, released the following statement on the $480 billion agreement that was reached today as part of Congress’ ongoing response to COVID-19.
The deal provides $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program co-authored by Senator Collins, which includes $60 billion for smaller lenders. This brings total funding for the program so far to $670 billion. It also provides $60 billion for Economic Injury Disaster loans and grants Senator Collins advocated for as well as $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.
“I am encouraged that Congress has once again reached a bipartisan agreement to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. I spoke repeatedly with Secretary Mnuchin as well as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and the result of these negotiations is a package that will provide substantial relief for small employers and their employees as well as crucial support for the health of Americans and for our health care system.
“Before it ran out of money, the Paycheck Protection Program I co-authored provided $2.24 billion to 16,699 small Maine employers in less than two weeks, supporting an estimated 180,000 Maine jobs. The need for additional funding continues to be high. For example, one community bank in Maine has nearly 300 pending applications from self-employed individuals who are requesting an average forgivable loan amount of $26,000.
“The agreement reached today will help ensure that this vital program can help meet the overwhelming demand that remains and allow small employers to survive and continue to give paychecks to their employees.”