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Legislative Updates

House votes to expand Paycheck Protection Program for U.S. small businesses

The House of Representatives voted 417-1 to pass the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (H.R. 7010), which would create more flexibility on how and when to spend forgivable loans provided to American small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) voted against the overwhelmingly popular measure.

The legislation, introduced by Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Dean Phillips (D-MN), extends the eight-week period in which the loans must be spent to 24 weeks and would allow businesses up to five years to repay any money owed on a loan. Additionally, the bill would lower the current requirement that 75 percent of a loan be used on payroll to 60 percent as many claimed the rule was too tight given high expenses on rent and other costs.

It is notable that the original bill, as drafted, would have removed the 75 percent payroll limitation entirely. This change in the bill was due in large part to the input of the broader Labor community, which requested the change be made. .

“Labor was concerned that it would reduce the amount of money that would go to employees,” said Rep. Phillips. “We also wanted to pass something that wouldn't just pass this chamber but also the Senate and find, perhaps, a signature in the White House.”

The Senate is expected to take up the bill next week, but despite the strong bipartisan House support behind the bill, Senate Small Business Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) took issue with the bill and suggested certain provisions “could create an unintended disincentive to rehiring and create new and serious burdens for PPP borrowers in terms of forgiveness.”

NALC will monitor this bill as it proceeds to the Senate to keep letter carriers informed on any actions taken on the legislation.

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