Washington, D.C.—U.S. Senator Susan Collins spoke on the Senate floor this afternoon to urge the Senate to swiftly pass legislation she introduced with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) that would extend and increase flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) they co-authored. The PPP provides critical support for America’s small employers and their employees, who are struggling with the consequences of economic shutdowns aimed at fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Since its launch in early April, the program has provided loans totaling more than $510 billion to approximately 4.3 million small employers across the country. The overwhelming majority of borrowers are very small. In Maine, the average borrowers had an estimated 12 employees in Phase I and three employees in Phase II.
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly two-thirds of small businesses in Maine have received PPP loans, which is among the highest rates in the nation. These funds are sufficient to support approximately 200,000 jobs,” said Senator Collins from the Senate floor. “It is important to remember the real businesses, and real people, behind these numbers. People like Larry Geaghan, who owns and runs a craft brewery and pub in Bangor, Maine. Larry calls the PPP a ‘lifeline bill’ that has made the difference in helping him bring back 25 of his employees and reopen for takeout business.
“The Paycheck Protection Program is the single-most critical stimulus program protecting Main Street America from the economic consequences of measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19,” Senator Collins continued. “The bill we are introducing today strengthens the PPP to reflect evolving economic needs, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”
Under current law, the PPP provides small employers with eight weeks of funds to pay their workers, protect their jobs, and help cover certain overhead expenses until the economy can safely reopen. The Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act would extend the PPP to reflect the fact that economic shutdowns have lasted longer than originally anticipated, and to provide small employers with more flexibility in the use of loan funds.
Specifically, the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act would: