House Passes Bill to Add Funds to CARES Act Programs

Tonight, the U.S. House passed H.R. 266 by a vote of 388-5. The legislation provides $321 billion to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which ran out of funds last week. Also included in the $484 billion dollar package is $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to broaden virus testing. The U.S. Senate passed the bill by voice vote April 21. The president signed it into law April 24.

The PPP section of the CARES Act provides businesses with low interest loans, which, under certain circumstances, can be converted into grants. The loans are to be used to help keep employees on the payroll and to protect small businesses from insolvency due to shutdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Small Business Administration ran out of money from the CARES Act in less than two weeks and has been unable to fulfill successful PPP applications since, which necessitated this interim funding measure. While this is technically the fourth piece of legislation passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus, this bill did not create new programs to help small businesses; rather, it added more funding to the programs created or enhanced by the CARES Act.

What Comes Next:

PIA National is also working with the business and insurance communities on a legislative proposal to create a Recovery Fund for businesses and employees, and we hope that fund will be created in the next coronavirus legislation. We are also continuing our advocacy against business interruption proposals, which are replete with unworkable provisions and are inadequate to help all businesses in need during this crisis.