Improving the Paycheck Protection Program for Arkansas Businesses

May 29, 2020
Weekly Columns

Millions of small businesses across America have been impacted by COVID-19, and Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to assist them through the crisis. As of May 23, 40,329 Arkansas businesses had received a total of $3,286,789,662 in PPP funds. These businesses have been able to use the forgivable loans to maintain payroll, cover operating expenses and more.

Now, many Arkansas businesses are adapting to different stages of reopening restrictions, and therefore need greater flexibility for the terms of their PPP loans. That’s why on May 28, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 7010, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. This important legislation accomplishes several main objectives to make the PPP work better for American businesses. It extends the forgiveness period to 24 weeks (as opposed to the original 8 weeks), which will accommodate businesses in different stages of reopening. The current rule also requires that 75 percent of the loan must be used on payroll costs and 25 percent for rent, utilities, etc. This update replaces that 75/25 rule with a 60/40 rule, which will give small businesses more choice in how they use their loan funds. Finally, H.R. 7010 ensures that small businesses won’t be penalized by high unemployment benefits.

For these and other reasons, I voted for H.R. 7010. Now more than ever, Congress needs to stand behind America’s small businesses and use available resources to ensure we all weather this pandemic. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers to continue providing assistance as needed to bring our economy roaring back.