The Paycheck Protection Program improvement bill signed Friday will help many of America's small businesses come back more fully after coronavirus shutdowns that forced them to close their doors earlier this year, according to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.
"We are still working on the two-plus trillion dollars already out there, making sure it works," Scalise said on Fox Business' "Mornings With Maria." The Louisiana Republican also commented on reports that the Trump administration is eyeing a $1 trillion stimulus package for the next round of economic relief, including money for America's infrastructure.
"We also know that we are starting to see businesses come back," said Scalise. "That is where our focus needs to be. It is helping them come out of this to bring jobs back, restore the American dream lost for so many people."
The improvements to the PPP bill mean businesses will have a longer time to use loans from a program approved through Congress to help them retain employees and meet overhead costs, giving them more flexibility on how the money is to be spent.
"You go from 8 weeks up to 24 weeks to utilize it," said Scalise, noting that when the relief bill was first passed, recovery had been expected to move more quickly.
"Of course, many states were later in opening up phase one, so let's give them more opportunity to come back," said Scalise.
Initially, businesses were to be able to consider the loan as a grant, as long as 75% of it was used to retain workers, he explained. However, when businesses were forced to shut down longer, employees weren't able to come back quickly, so they instead collected unemployment bonuses, and businesses sought flexibility in how they were able to use their stimulus loans.
"If more employees weren't coming back they should not be penalized for that," said Scalise. "This helps a lot of small businesses, but the real answer we all know is going to be to get our economy back open."
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