U.S. Senate passes nearly $500 billion in additional small business COVID-19 aid

Apr 23, 2020
Written by wpengine

U.S. House vote could be today

The U.S. Senate this week unanimously passed legislation providing nearly $500 billion in additional federal aid to small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and to aid hospitals dealing with large numbers of seriously ill patients. Helps with testing equipment.

The bill, which is supported by the White House, now goes to the House of Representatives where it could be voted upon as soon as today.

The nearly $500 billion package deal would come just a few weeks after Congress passed a broader $2 trillion law that aimed to address economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. An estimated $320 billion of it is earmarked to help small businesses.

National Retail Federation welcomed the package.

“Retailers continue to deal with catastrophic hardships from COVID-19 and small retailers are the hardest hit,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “The CARES Act was an important first step but funding for the Paycheck Protection Program has already been exhausted and additional relief is essential to keeping employees of small retailers on the payroll and contributing to the economy until we can get through this challenge.

Shay continued: “This assistance is too important to be given out on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to those who were the quickest to file their applications. This measure will ensure that those who need assistance the most will receive it. It should be passed and signed into law before this health crisis turns into any more of an economic crisis than it already is.”

Nearly 200,000 small retailers have taken part in the Paycheck Protection Program, receiving an average loan of $155,000 each for a total of $29 billion, but funds have run out and the SBA is no longer accepting new applications.