Friday, President Donald J. Trump (R) signed a nearly half-trillion-dollar coronavirus relief bill that replenishes the money for the Payroll Protection Program, a Small Business Administration program that makes small-business loans to prevent layoffs during the forced economic shutdown to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The $484 billion bill is the fourth large coronavirus deal passed by Congress. The bill revives the PPP which ran out of money and supplies $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.
Pres. Trump said that the bill was, “great for small businesses, great for the workers” and said it would “extend relief to thousands of African American and Hispanic American business owners.”
The package passed the House 388 to 5 on Thursday. The bill passed the Senate unanimously.
“After partisan politics stalled negotiations, Congress finally passed additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program yesterday,” Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) wrote. “This is something that should have been done last week before the program ran out of money, but it’s good news that the program is now replenished. The $310 billion will be vitally important as we move into the last week of April, as a substantial number of businesses have been applying for PPP relief. Secretary Mnuchin stated that through the first 14 days of this program, 14 years’ worth of requests were processed – that is a staggering number.”
“Although this program is not perfect, it’s obvious that it is working. Small businesses need our help now and will continue to need our help even as we begin to reopen the economy.,” said Aderholt. “The gradual move back into economic normalcy will not start with immediate prosperity for small businesses across the state, so the PPP will remain a vital component moving forward.”
“Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, I have been greatly concerned with how restrictions would stifle the economy in our state and in the entire country,” Aderholt said. “It’s no secret that the economic impacts have been troubling, but I am happy to report two promising actions that happened this past week. As I’m sure you know, Wednesday I traveled to Washington to vote on a replenishment bill for the Paycheck Protection Program. The bill secured $310 billion that will go directly to small businesses through the PPP, and that is great news.”
“Additionally, earlier in the week I sent a letter to Governor Ivey, outlining my recommendations on how and when it would be appropriate to reopen business and normal activities in Alabama.” Aderholt explained. “All of this translates into a growing optimism, as I remain hopeful that we can return to normal sooner rather than later.”
“We are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people” Pres. Trump said.
The small-business program forgives loans if businesses with up to 500 employees, and in some cases more, don’t lay off workers. An initial $350 billion passed last month as part of a more than $2 trillion stimulus bill but ran out in two weeks.
The PPP receives an additional $310 billion in the new bill. The deal also includes a $60 billion small-business loan set-aside for smaller banks and credit unions. Another $50 billion was given to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $10 billion to the SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Grant program.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) was the only Democrat who voted against the bill. Four conservative Republicans, Reps. Thomas Massie (Kentucky), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Ken Buck (Colorado) and Jody Hice (Georgia), also opposed the bill.
In February, the American economy was booming. The economy was growing, the stock market was soaring, and unemployment was at the lowest it had been since the height of the Vietnam War. On January 20th the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, arrived in this country. By March 12th it had killed 36 Americans prompting the President to declare a state of emergency. A forced economic shutdown was implemented to slow the spread of the virus. By March 31, 5,151 Americans had been killed. As of press time on April 27, 55,415 Americans have been killed by the virus, over half of them in New York and New Jersey. 3,008,196 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed globally. 207,391 people around the world have died.
33 million Americans, 26 million in the last four weeks, are now unemployed and thousands of small businesses have been immensely impacted by the virus and the forced economic shutdown during the global pandemic.
Congressman Robert Aderholt represents Alabama’s 4th Congressional District.
(Original reporting by the New York Post and the Hill contributed to this report.)