A group of Democratic senators has introduced a new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses with 100 or fewer employees, including sole proprietorships and the self-employed, according to a press release.
To be eligible for the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program (P4), businesses must have already spent a PPP loan, or be on pace to use the funding and must prove a revenue loss of 50 percent or more due to the pandemic.
“Congress must once again act urgently to support our most vulnerable small businesses through this crisis, so our economy can recover as quickly as possible after the pandemic,” Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, said in a statement.
To ensure the hardest-hit businesses can access P4 loans, publicly-traded companies would be prohibited, and loans to hospitality and lodging businesses with multiple locations would be capped at $2 million, the release states.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said while the economy recovers, small businesses have a long way to go before they’re back on their feet.
“A second installment of PPP funding is the lifeline many businesses need to get them to the other side of this crisis while keeping employees on payroll,” she said in a statement. “This legislation prioritizes smaller businesses, particularly those in the restaurant and hospitality industries, that have been hit especially hard in recent months. Every effort must be made to make sure federal relief reaches small businesses that need help the most, and this legislation is a vital next step towards that goal.”
Congress approved a second wave of PPP money totaling $310 billion after the first round of $350 was distributed in less than two weeks. P4 legislation does not mention a budget amount, so it’s unclear whether the proponents want the PPP money already approved by Congress to be reallocated.
A spokeswoman for Shaheen could not immediately be reached for comment.
PPP has provided 4.5 million businesses and nonprofits with $511 billion in loans, according to the release, and it has prevented further losses among hard-hit industries, with restaurant hires accounting for 1.4 million of the 2.5 million jobs added to the economy last month.
The proposal comes five days after President Donald Trump signed a bill to provide more spending options for PPP recipients. It reduces the amount employers must spend on payroll to 60 percent from 75 percent; provides more time for recipients to pay back the loans; allows companies to use the cash for six months instead of two; and lengthens the deadline for businesses to rehire staffers.