The Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act would provide $377 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Paycheck Protection Program would provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If the employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to recover quickly from the crisis. The proposal would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls.
Paycheck Protection Program
- The bill would provide $350 billion to support loans through a new Paycheck protection Program for:
- Small employers with 500 employees or fewer, as well as those that meet the current Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards.
- Self-employed individuals and ‘gig’ economy individuals, and
- Certain nonprofits, including 501(c)(3) organizations and 501(c)(19) veteran organizations, and tribal business concerns with under 500 employees.
- The size of the loans would equal 250 percent of an employer’s average monthly payroll. The maximum loan amount would be $10 million.
- Covered payroll costs include salary, wages, and payment of cash tips (up to an annual rate of pay of $100,000), employee group health care benefits, including insurance premiums, retirement contributions, and covered leave.
- The cost of participation in the program would be reduced for both borrowers and lenders by providing fee waivers, and automatic deferment of payments for one year, and no prepayment penalties.
- Loans would be available immediately through more than 800 existing SBA-certified lenders, including banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions, and SBA would be required to streamline the process to bring additional lenders into the program.
- The Treasury Secretary would be authorized to expedite the addition of new lenders and make further enhancements to expedite the delivery of capital to small employers quickly.
- The maximum loan amount for SBA Express loans would be increased from $350,000 to $1 million. Express loans provide borrowers with revolving lines of credit for working capital purposes.
- The bill would provide $265 million for grants to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers, to offer counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
- $10 million would be provided for the Minority Business Development Agency to provide these services through Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce.
Emergency EIDL Grants
- The bill would expand eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and dispense small-dollar loans.
- The bill would allow businesses that apply for EIDL expedited access to capital and Emergency Grant – an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations.
- $10 billion would be provided to support the expanded EIDL program.
Small Business Debt Relief
- The bill would require SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products, including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, ad Microloan programs, for six months to provide relief to small businesses negatively affected by COVID-19.
- $17 billion would be provided to implement this section.