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Higgins Announces Passage of Legislation Making Improvements to the Paycheck Protection Program

May 28, 2020
Press Release
Bill Gives Small Businesses Struggling Through the COVID-19 Outbreak With More Flexibility

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced passage of H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act of 2020. The bipartisan bill, approved by a vote of 417-1, makes more businesses eligible for the program and provides urgent solutions to some of the challenges small businesses are facing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Higgins said, “The health crisis created by this pandemic has led to an economic crisis. The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help struggling small businesses but the constraints of the program didn’t meet the practical reality of what many businesses are facing. This legislation incorporates changes and flexibility based on the feedback of small business owners making more eligible to use the program and keep people working.”

Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program under the bill include:  

  • increasing the current limitation on non-payroll expenses, such as rent, utilities, and mortgage interest, for loan forgiveness from 25 to 40%,
  • allowing forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks and extends the rehiring deadline,
  • extending loan terms from 2 years to 5 years,
  • extending the program from June 30 through December 31.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economy Security (CARES) Act provided relief for small business including $350 billion in financial assistance to establish the Paycheck Protection Program which acts as a bridge for businesses and non-profits that retain employees and their salaries. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provided an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.  

Several fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program were also provided in the Heroes Act, approved in the House on May 18, and yet to be considered in the Senate. Those include:

  • reserving 25% of the funds for business with 10 or fewer employees, and an additional 25% for non-profits of all sizes with half of that 25% required to go to nonprofits smaller than 500 employees,
  • extending the window to use PPP funds from 8 to 24 weeks,
  • extending the program from June 30 to December 31,
  • allowing borrowers to use both PPP and Employee Retention Tax Credit,
  • adding expenses related to supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to allowable uses,
  • lowering monthly payments,  
  • creating grants for small community financial institutions, and
  • ensuring principal and interest loan assistance is not treated as taxable income to small business borrowers.

Local Small Business Development Centers can provide Western New York businesses with additional guidance.  For Erie County visit: https://sbdc.buffalostate.edu/ or call: 716-878-4030.  In Niagara County go to: http://niagarasbdc.orgor call 716-210-2515.