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U.S. Senate Committee Holds COVID-19 Hearing

Recently, the U.S. Senate passed the PPP Flexibility Act by unanimous consent.

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The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business held a hearing entitled, “Perspectives from Main Street: COVID-19’s Impact on Small Business.”

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In his opening statement, Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) reiterated the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) most recent data that “more than 4.4 million Paycheck Protection (PPP) loans have been made for a total of more than $510 billion with an average loan size of roughly $114,000; and more than 707,000 EIDL loans have been made for more than $55.7 billion.”

“While the process of establishing and administering the PPP program has certainly not been without its faults, this program has clearly had an immense and positive impact on the small business community,” Rubio said. “…While these statistics are certainly encouraging, we recognize that small firms and communities throughout our nation are still struggling.”

Witnesses addressed issues with the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, emphasizing the need for continuity of these programs. They also stressed the importance of focusing on underserved, minority and rural communities.

Joseph Shamess, co-founder and owner of Flags of Valor, highlighted resources needed for going forward as Congress navigates next steps regarding small businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the nation economically.

Shamess encouraged the committee to follow the U.S. House of Representatives lead in simplifying the program and allowing for increased flexibility, such as extending the loan forgiveness period to 24 weeks and eliminating the U.S. Department of Treasury’s implemented 75/25 rule, noting this “would allow for the PPP to benefit more small businesses and their employees.”

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The initial PPP provided millions of dollars of small businesses to remain open during the initial phase of shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, restrictions in the law and a confusing roll out of the program caused hesitation among borrowers.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7010 — the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act — on a 417-1 vote, addressing many of these concerns. Recently, the U.S. Senate passed the PPP Flexibility Act by unanimous consent. The bill is now awaiting President Trump’s signature.

To view the PPP Flexibility Act text, click here.

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