Senate Approves Stimulus Bill

March 26, 2020

Late Wednesday night, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to approve the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes critical language to provide small businesses relief. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) negotiated the measure known as the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act which is now Division A of the CARES Act. The House is expected to vote on the measure Friday morning.

“I applaud the Senate for passage of this bill and urge the House to approve it without delay,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “Time is of the essence – small businesses need help NOW, and the small-business stimulus language in the CARES Act will be a tremendous help to America’s small-business community.”

Earlier Wednesday, final language of the small-business section of the bill was released by Sen. Rubio whose office also provided an updated section by section of the provision here and one pager here. NSBA is continuing to analyze the legislation and will provide a thorough analysis soon.

In the meantime, below is a brief summary of what the small-business section of the CARES Act will do.

  • Create the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would largely be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.
  • Allow the Paycheck Protection Program to cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • Provide $265 million for grants to offer counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19 to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers and $10 million for the Minority Business Development Agency’s Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce.
  • Allow for expedited access to capital by establishing a $10 billion program for small businesses who have applied for an EIDL loan to request an advance of up to $10,000 on the loan to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, and other debt obligations.
  • Require SBA to pay all principal, interest and fees on all new and existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for 6 months, and provides $17 billion for this purpose.

“I want to personally thank Sen. Rubio for his leadership and Sens. Cardin, Collins and Shaheen for their tireless work on the small-business package,” stated McCracken. “Through my repeated communications with their offices regularly over the last few weeks, I can attest to the honest, unbiased commitment these Senators have to America’s small businesses.”

Please click here to access NSBA’s resource page on COVID-19 which includes a new poll, small-business profiles and much more.