America's small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy, but too many are struggling to stay in business as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The good news is that sweeping relief is on the way.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - a nearly $350 billion program - which can help small businesses cover 8 weeks of payroll costs, most mortgage interest, rent, and utilities - is now open for applications.
The federal government has temporarily shut down the economy because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and the federal government must help those who are hurt by it.
The first goal of the CARES Act - legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27 to combat the impact of COVID-19 - was to keep paychecks coming to American workers. The Paycheck Protection Program aims to do just that. If an employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the loan used to cover payroll costs, most mortgage interest, rent, and utilities can be forgiven for the 8 weeks after the loan is made.
In other words, the Paycheck Protection Program offers small businesses a guaranteed loan that can be forgiven if they keep workers employed, leases paid and businesses open. It is also retroactive to February 15, 2020, which will help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Small businesses with less than 500 employees and certain nonprofit organizations, veterans' organization, and tribal businesses, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, may also be eligible.
Small businesses interested in taking advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program can learn more here: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/top-priorities/cares-act/assistance-for-small-businesses
And here are a few additional resources for Tennesseans:
Small Business Administration (SBA) -
General Information - https://www.sba.gov/
Economic Injury Disaster Loan Application - https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
List of Tennessee Small Business Development Centers - https://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/help-for-small-businesses
These are trying times, but Tennesseans are resilient. As chairman of the Senate health committee, I will continue to work to bring much needed relief to Tennessee as we fight to deal with the impact and containment of this disease.