Yesterday, the House passed a $483.4 billion economic relief measure – the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act – focused primarily on replenishing the small business loan program that ran out of funding last week.
Here’s what the bill included:
- $310 billion in additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which allows companies with fewer than 500 employees to apply for loans from banks, primarily for payroll costs. These additional funds including $60 billion reserved for small and medium sized lending institutions and community businesses in an effort to address the issue of larger businesses benefitting more than small businesses in underserved communities.
- $60 billion in additional support for other emergency funding for small businesses including $50 billion for the Disaster Loans Program and $10 billion in additional funding for the SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Grants.
- $75 billion for reimbursement to hospitals and health care providers to support the need for COVID-19 related expenses and lost revenue.
- $25 billion to implement and expand COVID-19 testing along with the requirement that states and localities submit plans on how they will utilize the testing funds.
The additional funding for small business loans should keep some workers in jobs and the additional support for health care providers and expanded COVID-19 testing is necessary – but this measure is a building block, not a victory.
Even as an interim measure, this bill falls short. It fails to provide critical food assistance, state and local fiscal relief, or any of the priorities for children and families we outlined in our letter to Congress last week.
In one of the wealthiest nations, millions of families are worried about where their next meal will come from, 26 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last 5 weeks, and states are approaching the need to make cuts to important programs which are needed now more than ever. As the scope and scale of the devastation from COVID-19 continues to grow, it is clear that children and families need additional support and now is not the time for Congress to be modest in its investment to critical services. In future legislation, the safety and well-being of America’s children and families must remain a top priority.
Find more details on the bill here.
Read our letter to Congress here.