Congressional leaders struck a deal with the White House Tuesday to send hundreds of billion of dollars in fresh aid to small businesses. The bill could be law as early as Thursday.
The Senate passed the $484 billion bill and sent it to the House. President Trump is expected to sign the legislation quickly.
Funds for the first Payroll Protection Program, a $350 billion allocation established to help small businesses make payroll during statewide shutdowns, were depleted last week. The bill in the works now replenishes that fund with $320 billion.
Analysts anticipate that the new fund could be depleted by early next week. Association members who have not yet pursued the loans, which carry a 1 percent interest rate but are forgiven if business owners use them primarily to keep their workforce employed, are urged to act quickly. A new member benefit that offers no-cost consultations with experts on the loan process can help. (See next story.)
Of the $310 billion that will be available for loans, $60 billion will be set aside for small, midsize and community lenders. The loans are intended for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but language in the first round allowed restaurants and hotel chains to participate regardless of how many people they employ. That led to tens of millions of dollars in loans going to national companies. Rules are tightened on this round.
A separate program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) fund, aimed at quickly delivering a mix of grants and loans, gets $60 billion in the new legislation. EIDL funds will be available to farmers after lobbying by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Farmers and ranchers were previously only eligible for the PPP loans, but some had been turned away by confused lenders.
The package, which lawmakers dubbed an interim emergency bill, also includes $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing.
Source: Wall Street Journal