With the US Senate having already passed an interim stimulus package, the House of Representatives last night followed suit, approving a $480 billion funding bill known as the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This legislation is aimed at assisting small businesses survive during the COVID-19 pandemic. The stimulus package now heads to President Trump’s desk for his signature.
The measure also includes additional money to assist hospitals and provide for more testing, but the bulk of this bill will go to the replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program. That program specifically is aimed at helping small businesses in America obtain so-called, forgivable loans, so they can meet their payroll commitment to employees.
It sets aside $60 billion of the $310 billion appropriated for the program for small business in underserved areas, including many minority-owned ones. It also provides $50 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and $10 billion for the EIDL Grant Program. Additionally, the bill appropriates $75 billion for hospitals and our frontline health care workers so that their needs, including the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment, can be met.
Congressman Albio Sires (D-District 8, NJ) voted in favor of the legislation, saying that “this bill contains numerous important provisions that Democrats fought hard to include. The small business programs that were created and funded in the CARES Act needed more support as well as provisions to ensure that the funds are going to mom and pop shops, not big businesses with other means of raising capital. It is also vitally important that we ramp up our testing efforts nationwide, so that we can truly grasp just how many people could be carrying the virus. I’m proud to have voted for this interim bill but now it is time for us to put forward a truly comprehensive plan that helps all those who are suffering due to this pandemic. We can’t approach this problem piecemeal, we need a unified effort that addresses the economic, societal, and health impacts of COVID-19 and I will continue to fight for the residents of New Jersey’s 8th District as we negotiate such a bill.”
President Trump is expected to sign the bill.