House approves changes to business virus aid subsidy program

The House gave sweeping bipartisan approval Thursday to legislation to modify a new “paycheck protection” program for businesses that have suffered COVID-related losses, giving them more flexibility to use federal subsidies for other costs and extending the lifespan of the program as the economy continues to struggle.

Posted: May 28, 2020 2:09 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House gave sweeping bipartisan approval Thursday to legislation to modify a new “paycheck protection” program for businesses that have suffered COVID-related losses, giving them more flexibility to use federal subsidies for other costs and extending the lifespan of the program as the economy continues to struggle.

The compromise measure passed by a 417-1 vote and now heads to the Senate, where passage is likely next week. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law, though talks remain stalled on a much bigger measure to inject more than $3 trillion into the tumbling economy.

The changes to the program come as many smaller businesses such as restaurants struggle to survive coronavirus -related ruptures to the economy as states permit shuttered businesses to reopen.

As enacted in late March, the Paycheck Protection Program required businesses to spend their loan money within an eight-week window to get the loans forgiven. It also required that three-fourths of the money be spent on payroll as a means of keeping workers linked to their jobs. But small businesses say there are several fixes needed to the program.

For instance, the eight-week window created a dilemma for businesses, in particular restaurants that under the law were required to rehire all their laid-off workers even though they were either closed or limited to takeout and delivery. Many business owners feared that they would use up their loan money before being allowed to reopen, and then have to lay off employees again because their business wouldn’t bring in enough revenue to keep paying everyone.

“I think we can all agree the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19 has proven more severe and drawn out than many anticipated,” said Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y. “We need to give borrowers more than eight weeks to use the funds in order to qualify for loan forgiveness.”

The new measure gives business owners 24 weeks to spend the federal aid — instead of eight as originally designed — and extends the program through the end of the year while also lengthening the the maturity date and deferral period of the loans.

The legislation has the backing of GOP-friendly business groups like the National Federation of Independent Business, which was critical of delays by Democrats of legislation earlier this month to replenish the program’s funding. Congress has provided about $660 billion to the program — roughly the size of the annual defense budget — helping 4.4 million businesses so far.

“Together, these changes will allow more businesses to receive PPP loan forgiveness and have liquidity after the PPP ends,” said NFIB Vice President Kevin Kuhlman in a letter to lawmakers.

Thursday’s vote followed negotiations over the past week and should pave the way for the Senate to pass the measure next week and deliver it to Trump. Kentucky Republican Thomas Massie was the sole “nay” vote.

“We also wanted to pass something that wouldn’t just pass this chamber but also the Senate and find, perhaps, a signature in the White House,” said freshman Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., who played a role in talks on the measure.

Many companies that have reopened are indeed seeing sharply reduced revenue. The continuation of social distancing requirements in states and cities across the country has limited the number of customers and diners that restaurants and other businesses can serve. And many consumers are uneasy about going into stores, reducing retailers’ revenue. Business owners say they need more time to give them flexibility in the number of staffers they can bring back.

House lawmakers aren’t expected to return to Washington next week. The Senate is returning to process additional Trump administration nominations and perhaps turn to a bipartisan lands bill.

But the summertime agenda is in flux. There were no formal talks between congressional leaders on the next phase of the federal coronavirus response. Democrats have pushed a $3 trillion-plus measure through the House, but negotiations with the GOP-controlled Senate and White House have yet to begin.

Congress is at a crossroads on the next virus relief bill. Democrats tout their 1,800-page bill as an opening salvo in negotiations, but Senate Republicans are wary of another round of negotiations where Democrats and the White House call the shots. Republicans are also split on how much aid to provide state and local governments, as well as other parts of the Democrats’ proposal.

Also Thursday, the House defeated a bill to require the Small Business Administration, which runs the payroll program, to disclose the businesses receiving aid through it. The measure won a strong majority in the Democratic-controlled chamber but was defeated because it did not receive the two-thirds margin required to pass under fast-track rules.

___

Associated Press writer Joyce Rosenberg in New York contributed to this report.

__

This story has been updated to correct the number of House vacancies. There are currently four vacant House seats, not three.

Terre Haute
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 65°
Robinson
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
Indianapolis
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 65°
Rockville
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 58°
Casey
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 64°
Brazil
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 65°
Marshall
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 65°
Breezy, Warmer Weekend
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Barr-Reeve vs Loogootee 9-25-20 ITZ

Image

Harrison vs Vin Lin ITZ 9-25-20

Image

West Washington vs North Central ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Riverton Parke vs Cloverdale ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Linton vs North Daviess ITZ 9-25-20

Image

Indy Lutheran vs Northview ITZ 9-25-20

Image

OV vs Sullivan ITZ 9-25-20

Image

SP vs WV ITZ 9-25-20

Image

SV vs PH ITZ 9-25-20

Image

BNL VS THS ITZ 9-25-20

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 283559

Reported Deaths: 8774
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1414305187
DuPage17091554
Lake16636487
Will13720376
Kane12889325
St. Clair6421188
Winnebago5634149
Madison5511136
Champaign453820
McHenry4506118
Peoria335249
McLean322322
Rock Island290175
Kankakee269477
Sangamon231144
Unassigned2244236
Kendall196625
Tazewell167821
LaSalle165856
DeKalb152638
Macon145444
Coles141730
Williamson137142
Jackson125024
Clinton110120
Boone108223
Adams105510
Randolph92811
Effingham8481
Whiteside71320
Vermilion6734
Ogle6626
Grundy6545
Henry6475
Monroe64215
Morgan64023
Knox6313
Bureau61211
Jefferson58438
Marion5270
Macoupin5237
Franklin5143
Union50724
Stephenson4986
Christian46311
McDonough46015
Logan4481
Crawford4203
Woodford4126
Cass39311
Fayette3893
Jersey38714
Shelby3664
Iroquois35919
Livingston3556
Lee3531
Montgomery34813
Perry34215
Warren3192
Saline3073
Bond3045
Douglas2937
Wayne2645
Jo Daviess2532
Lawrence2522
Carroll2184
Greene2187
Moultrie2083
Cumberland2044
Jasper2039
Washington2031
Hancock2013
Richland1764
Pulaski1671
White1640
Fulton1570
Clark1562
Johnson1490
Wabash1491
Clay1420
Mason1341
Mercer1335
Piatt1320
Pike1211
Menard1200
Edgar1128
Massac1062
De Witt1051
Ford1005
Marshall990
Scott760
Alexander741
Gallatin712
Hamilton670
Henderson660
Edwards640
Putnam550
Stark542
Schuyler480
Calhoun470
Brown450
Hardin370
Pope261
Out of IL30

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 114236

Reported Deaths: 3548
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21067764
Lake10397321
Elkhart6477109
St. Joseph6312105
Allen6113201
Hamilton4803109
Vanderburgh353630
Hendricks2694123
Monroe253136
Tippecanoe234713
Johnson2291123
Clark218756
Porter210546
Cass19399
Delaware191861
Vigo180324
Madison161975
LaPorte140540
Floyd135161
Howard129263
Warrick123436
Kosciusko121117
Bartholomew115557
Marshall99724
Dubois96418
Boone96046
Hancock91743
Grant90334
Noble90032
Henry79326
Wayne75114
Jackson7469
Morgan70938
Shelby66829
Daviess65828
Dearborn64728
LaGrange63411
Clinton59514
Harrison56624
Putnam54211
Knox5139
Lawrence51028
Montgomery50721
Gibson4964
White48314
DeKalb46811
Decatur45839
Miami4313
Greene42235
Fayette41913
Jasper3902
Steuben3787
Scott36711
Sullivan33312
Posey3160
Jennings31212
Franklin30325
Clay2995
Orange28824
Ripley2878
Carroll27313
Wabash2638
Washington2631
Whitley2617
Starke2597
Adams2553
Wells2513
Jefferson2473
Fulton2352
Spencer2283
Huntington2253
Tipton22122
Perry21613
Randolph2117
Jay1760
Newton17211
Owen1681
Martin1640
Rush1544
Pike1431
Vermillion1270
Fountain1202
Pulaski1161
Blackford1143
Brown1043
Crawford1040
Parke972
Benton880
Ohio787
Union780
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0226