A bipartisan group including Senator Collins is developing legislation to allow the hardest-hit small businesses to receive a second forgivable loan
Collins: “Millions of small employers need additional help if they are to keep their heads above water and survive.”
Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ remarks.
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Small Business Task Force and the co-author of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), spoke on the Senate floor this afternoon about her priorities for the future of this lifeline for small businesses.
Given the ongoing economic crisis caused by the pandemic, Senator Collins is working with her Small Business Task Force colleagues—Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)—on new legislation that will support the small businesses that have been the most severely impacted.
“As the Fourth of July draws closer, near-empty hotels, inns, and restaurants portend a profound and long-lasting disaster, as many of our state’s seasonal businesses rely on the busy summer season to pay their major bills for the year, including their mortgage and property taxes,” said Senator Collins. “Two weeks ago, a Maine innkeeper told me that her inn would normally have a 94 percent occupancy rate at this point in the summer, but she currently has an occupancy rate of just 6 percent. As one observer put it, the word ‘Vacationland’ on Maine license plates might well be replaced with ‘Vacancy Land.’”
“As the shutdowns have grown longer, it has become clear that millions of small employers need additional help if they are to keep their heads above water and survive,” Senator Collins continued. “It has also become clear that these employers must make substantial investments to modify their operations to protect their employees and customers, and to mitigate the spread of the COVID virus. I believe that we are very close to reaching bipartisan agreement, and I know that for small businesses that are struggling, such an agreement cannot come soon enough.”
Senator Collins enumerated the following proposals she is advocating for in new PPP legislation:
- Allow the hardest-hit small employers – those that have seen their revenues decline by 50 percent or more – to receive an additional PPP loan.
- In general, limit eligibility for the second round of PPP loans to entities that have 300 or fewer employees to stretch available funds. Seasonal employers that meet the revenue-loss standard should be able to access an additional PPP loan of up to $1 million to get through the winter.
- Expand forgivable PPP expenses for supplier costs and investments in facility modifications and personal protective equipment needed to operate safely, such as masks, plexi-glass guards, patio installations and related outdoor furnishings.
- Extend the PPP to small 501(c)(6) organizations that are not lobbying organizations, such as business leagues, economic development organizations, and boards of trade that are representing their business members through this crisis.
- Clarify in statute that forgivable loan funds can be spent through December 31st and allow borrowers to apply for loan forgiveness at the time of their choosing after eight weeks from loan origination.
- Require the Small Business Administration to comply with data and information requests from the Government Accountability Office or federal Inspectors General within 15 days to ensure transparency in the PPP loan program.
Since its launch in in early April, the PPP has provided $520 billion in forgivable loans to 4.8 million small employers across the nation. According to an ongoing U.S. Census survey, nearly 3 out of every 4 small business respondents report that they have received assistance under the program. In Maine, nearly 27,000 small employers have received loans totaling more than $2.2 billion, with an average business size of approximately seven employees. The PPP is helping to sustain nearly 200,000 jobs in Maine alone.
Last night the U.S. Senate approved legislation cosponsored with Senator Collins to extend the window for new PPP loans from June 30th to August 8th. This legislation is now pending in the House of Representatives. New loans cannot be approved until the legislation is enacted even though more than $130 billion appropriated for the PPP remains available.