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Congressman Gonzalez introduces bipartisan bill to address problem in PPP loan program

Washington, May 12, 2020

U.S. Representatives Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) introduced a new bill on Tuesday to help small businesses, especially ones that are unable to fully reopen in the coming weeks, utilize Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans without sacrificing loan forgiveness. The Promoting Flexibility for Small Business Owners Act provides restaurants, retailers, and other similar businesses with more time to meet the requirements to receive full forgiveness of their PPP loan.

“While the Paycheck Protection Program has been helpful for many small businesses across the country, some employers, like restaurants and retailers, are unable to make full use of these loans due to state and local reopening restrictions,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “Small businesses are the heart and soul of Northeast Ohio’s economy, and it is vital that we provide this additional relief to ensure our local business owners are able to take full advantage of their PPP loans and help restart our economy.”

"As we continue to ensure the health and safety of Americans during this pandemic, it’s critical that we also protect our small businesses and provide them with the support they need to get through these challenging times," said Congressman Joyce. "I'm proud to join Representatives Gonzalez, LaHood, and Murphy to introduce this bipartisan bill and ensure employers like restaurants and retailers have the flexibility they need to stay afloat until they can once again open their doors, our constituents can get back to work, and our economy is reignited."

“Main Street businesses and their employees are the lifeblood of central and west-central Illinois, and the Paycheck Protection Program has provided a lifeline to many during the COVID—19 pandemic,” said Congressman LaHood. “As states like Illinois extend forced business closures, it’s important that small businesses have the flexibility they need to still make full use of this program. Our bill better aligns the program with current operational needs, and will get employees back on the payroll during this difficult time.”

“The Paycheck Protection Program has assisted more than 125,000 Ohio businesses. However, we understand that Congress’s quick and broad actions still require fine-tuning to address the unique situations of many employers, including restaurants and other small businesses. I’m proud to join in introducing this bipartisan legislation to provide additional flexibility so that small businesses can fully utilize the benefits of the Paycheck Protection Program, keep their employees on the payroll, and reopen successfully in the coming weeks,” said Congressman Wenstrup.

“The restaurant industry is on the front lines of small businesses struggling in the wake of COVID-19, and many are doing everything they can to help our communities meet food needs. It is critical that Ohio’s local restaurants can fully utilize Paycheck Protection Program loans to keep our communities fed and over 585,000 Ohioans employed. The Ohio Restaurant Association is proud to support the Promoting Flexibility for Small Business Owners Act for its ability to help our members do just that,” said John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association.

“The Paycheck Protection Program is a vital financial assistance lifeline for small business owners. For the PPP to ultimately succeed, small business owners need greater flexibility as the economy reopens. NFIB thanks Representative Gonzalez for recognizing this need and supports the Promoting Flexibility for Small Business Owners Act. We urge increased flexibility in the next COVID-19 response legislation,” said Kevin Kuhlman, vice president of federal government relations at the National Federation of Independent Business.

The Paycheck Protection Program created under the CARES Act provides American small businesses with important access to forgivable loans for the purposes of paying employees’ wages, rent, and utilities. However, under current law, timeline requirements – like the eight-week limit to spend the loan and the June 30 deadline for rehiring employees – will severely limit businesses like restaurants and retailers, who are unable to fully reopen due to government restrictions, from fully taking advantage of these loans. The Promoting Flexibility for Small Business Owners Act addresses these problems by giving businesses more time to rehire workers and providing an additional four weeks of payments that can be forgiven.

The Promoting Flexibility for Small Business Owners Act is supported by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the National Restaurant Association, and the Ohio Restaurant Association. Read the full text of the bill here.

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