Rep. Josh Gottheimer’s bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Flexibility Act was overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives May 28.
Gottheimer co-sponsored bill makes fixes and provides flexibility to PPP loans intended to help small businesses and employees in North Jersey.
“I’ve heard over and over again from small businesses…in northern New Jersey that they are so grateful for the PPP loan forgiveness program and all the jobs and businesses it helps protect—but they need more flexibility with the formula and time frame,” said Gottheimer on the House floor.
“They need more time with the loan and more flexibility in how to spend it, from salaries to rent,” said the second-term Democratic representative.
The house passed the bill by a 417-1 vote, which now goes to the Senate.
According to the data from the Small Business Administration, more than 131,000 PPP loans have been processed to New Jersey’s small businesses, totaling more than $16.8 billion.
The bill includes recommendations Rep. Mikie Sherrill issued in a letter to the Small Business Administration outlining fixes to PPP and Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs. The letter included feedback gained through a small business survey issued to the 11th Congressional District on April 29.
“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 Sherrill in a press release. “This bipartisan bill includes many of the recommendations I sent to the Treasury and the SBA and shared with the House Committee on Small Business.”
According to backers of the bill, the proposed law will create more flexibility for small businesses by:
- Extending the forgiveness period for expenses to 24 weeks;
- Increasing the ratio limitation on the use of loans for non-payroll expenses—including rent, mortgage, and utilities—to 40 from 25%;
- Eliminating two-year loan repayment restrictions for future borrowers by extending loan terms to five years;
- Ensuring full access to payroll tax deferment for PPP recipients; and
- Extending the June 30 rehiring deadline.
“New Jersey’s economy, including all of our small businesses, want to make sure their businesses can stay open at the end of this pandemic, they want to keep all their workers, they want to keep giving back to our communities, they want to grow our businesses, and give back to our state—but they need our help,” said Gottheimer. “I’m hoping the Senate acts quickly to take it up.”
Telephone Town Halls
Since March, Gottheimer has hosted telephone Town Halls throughout the COVID-19 crisis, including with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, North Jersey health officials, and local leaders to go over steps being taken to fight the coronavirus pandemic as well as gain information on its impacts in his district.
A recent one held included NJ Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Bracken providing updates on how federal resources and economic relief are helping North Jersey’s businesses and workers and the pandemic’s impacts on the business community.
“The congressman is well aware of the distress within the New Jersey business community and has worked very hard to bring federal relief to the many companies impacted by the pandemic,” said Bracken in a press release.
Additionally, a call with mayor’s within the 5th district highlighted efforts to help combat the coronavirus, protecting New Jersey long-term care facilities with strike teams, and discussing local community needs.
Among the programs discussed that Gottheimer is sponsoring include The State and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Fund, which will provide $500 billion in emergency funding to every state, prioritizing assistance to the areas with the greatest need; The Sending Outside Support Act of 2020 to create strike teams of clinical and non-clinical staff to provide immediate support long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19; and The Nursing Home Pandemic Protection Act of 2020 that requires nursing homes report communicable diseases, infections, and potential outbreaks to the CDC and keep residents and families informed of infections inside the facilities.