Washington, DC -- Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) supported a bipartisan measure in the House of Representatives Thursday afternoon that passed 417-1 to help New Jersey small businesses get needed relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bipartisan Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act provides flexibility to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in order to make the program more accessible and usable.
In April 2020, Representative Sherrill launched the NJ-11 Small Business Survey to collect data on the implementation of the PPP and EIDL programs in the 11th District. Based on feedback provided by 340 small businesses from 50 municipalities, Representative Sherrill sent recommendations to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) outlining key steps the agencies can take to help New Jersey small businesses and to fix the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs. The letter was also shared with the House Committee on Small Business. Representative Sherrill testified before the committee about the needs of NJ-11 in April. Recommendations in the letter and testimony are reflected in the legislation.
“I’ve heard from small businesses across the district struggling and frustrated who need greater flexibility, transparency, and communication with the PPP and EIDL programs,” said Representative Sherrill. “This bipartisan bill includes many of the recommendations I sent to Treasury and the SBA and shared with the House Committee on Small Business. There is more to do on PPP and I will keep fighting for our small businesses.”
Representative Sherrill co-sponsored the bipartisan Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010), which makes the PPP program more accessible and usable for the vulnerable small businesses that need it the most:
- Allowing loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks and extending the rehiring deadline.
- Increasing the current limitation on the use of loan proceeds for non-payroll expenses from 25 percent to 40 percent. Currently, under regulations issued by the Administration, the PPP loans require that no more than 25 percent of loan proceeds can be spent on non-payroll expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, and utilities.
- Extending the program from June 30 to December 31. By ensuring the PPP program will operate for 24 weeks, rather than only eight, this bill will ensure that many more small businesses are supported as they navigate the economic recovery.
- Extending loan terms from two years to five years. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, full recovery for that industry following both the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 recession took more than two full years. This was also true for many other industries. If the past is any indication of the future, it will take many businesses more than two years to achieve sufficient revenues to pay back the loan.
- Ensuring full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans. The purpose of PPP and the payroll tax deferment was to provide businesses with liquidity to weather the crisis. Receiving both should not be considered double-dipping. Businesses need access to both sources of cash flow to survive.
The bipartisan Payroll Protection Program Flexibility Act is supported by numerous organizations, including the National Small Business Association, Small Business Majority, Small Business Roundtable, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Restaurant Association, Independent Restaurant Association, NFIB, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Women Business Owners, US Travel Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, Associated General Contractors of America, National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, National Newspaper Association, National Association of Manufacturers, and others.