The Republican-controlled Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday to correct the paycheck protection program, which provides for direct relief to small businesses in the middle of Coronavirus pandemic.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Called for a unanimous consent vote on Wednesday night and received no objections hours after Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Objected to its adoption because he wanted assurances of changes to be made to the program later.
The bill is now awaiting the signature of President Donald Trump.
The bill, called the Paycheque Protection Flexibility Act, would ease restrictions on the popular program, known as PPP. This comes after the program came under scrutiny for providing assistance to unintentional recipients, such as large publicly traded companies, and many businesses across the country complained that they were unable to access loans or for not having received sufficient funds to keep their businesses afloat and their employees. on the payroll.
Last week, the Democratic-controlled House passed the bipartisan bill, which would change the way businesses could use loan money while having their loans canceled. The vote was almost unanimous, at 417-1.
Under the bill, businesses would have more time to use their loan money beyond the initial eight-week deadline – which some local businesses banned from opening said wasn’t working for them. – and would still be entitled to a loan discount. It would also increase the amount of money that should be spent on salary costs.
The bill would also remove restrictions limiting non-salary spending to 25% of the loan and the loan term to two years. It would also extend the timeframe for rehiring employees to align with the expiration of enhanced unemployment insurance, created by the CARES Act and, in some cases, above the median wage in 44 states.
Many companies have reported an inability to rehire employees because they earn more from unemployment than they put into work.
“Now the president must sign this legislation and join us in supporting The Heroes Act to protect lives and livelihoods, ”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement. “Leader McConnell wants us to take a ‘break’, but the virus is not taking a break and neither are we. “