• Amy Stark

Congress Prepares to Act on Latest Coronavirus Response Bill

After much negotiation, Congressional leaders announced the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which the Senate passed by voice vote April 21. This COVID-19 response bill comes on the heels of the announcement last week that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had run out of money in less than two weeks. 

Congressional leadership is characterizing this bill as an interim funding effort, with the expectation that they will continue to negotiate a larger “phase 4” package in the coming weeks. In particular, this bill does not address relief measures for states and localities that is expected as part of a larger phase 4 package. Moreover, many are predicting that the new influx of cash into the PPP Loan money provided for in this bill will run out within a few weeks.

As proposed, the new bill would, among other things:

  • Provide an additional $310 billion in funding for PPP loans

  • Provide an additional $10 billion in funding for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program

  • Provide the SBA with an additional $2.1 billion in funding to help administer COVID-19 response programs

  • Provide an additional $75 billion in funding to Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for the purposes of reimbursing health care providers for expenses and lost revenues related to COVID-19

  • Provide $25 billion for COVID-19 testing, nearly half of which would be distributed (in amounts dictated by the terms of the bill) to states, localities, territories and American Indian tribes.

This new bill simply increases funding and does not make any substantive changes to the PPP or the EIDL program. Those small businesses that have already obtained funding through either program will not be impacted.

While the House is currently out of session, it is anticipated that the chamber will reconvene as soon as Thursday to vote on the bill.

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