Signaling that an agreement has been reached on new stimulus funds for small businesses, President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon: “I urge the Senate and House to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with additional funding for PPP, Hospitals, and Testing. After I sign this Bill, we will begin discussions on the next Legislative Initiative with fiscal relief….”
He continued, “….to State/Local Governments for lost revenues from COVID 19, much needed Infrastructure Investments for Bridges, Tunnels, Broadband, Tax Incentives for Restaurants, Entertainment, Sports, and Payroll Tax Cuts to increase Economic Growth.”
The Senate is set to meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
- Boosting the appropriation level for the Paycheck Protection Program from $349 billion to $670 billion.
- Boosting the authorization level for the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) Grants from $10 billion to $20 billion.
- Allowing agricultural enterprises as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)) with not more than 500 employees to receive EIDL grants and loans.
Getting $300 billion for new stimulus loans, along with “insistence on a national testing strategy, and a growing controversy over who got the [small-business] initial aid — big chains or small local businesses?” were big sticking points in getting an agreement, Greg Valliere, chief U.S. policy strategist at AGF Investments, said in his Tuesday morning email briefing.
Trump “isn’t sweating the details,” Valliere said. “He wants more stimulus and he will get it this month, with more coming by summer.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday that “we’re in conversation with the final language. We have — I believe — come to terms on the principles of the legislation, which is a good thing.” Now, she added, “we’re down to the fine print.”
Pelosi said that she was “very optimistic and hopeful” a deal would come Monday evening, and then be taken up Tuesday in the Senate and Wednesday in the House.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration plans to launch a “sweeping effort” to repeal or suspend federal regulations affecting businesses, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The White House-driven initiative, the Post reported, is expected to center on suspending federal regulations for small businesses and expanding an existing administration program that requires agencies to revoke two regulations for every new one they issue, two people familiar with the matter said.
Small Businesses as Opportunity Zones
After the $377 billion allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and emergency grants dried up last week, top Senate Democrats pressed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain how the small-business loans were being distributed.
Valliere said Tuesday that ”large hotel and restaurant chains gobbled up much of the aid, thanks to savvy lobbyists and the industries’ political clout, leaving thousands of small businesses and local restaurants shut out.”
Two congressmen released a bill Tuesday that would temporarily define small businesses impacted by COVID-19 as qualified opportunity zone businesses.
The COVID-19-Impacted Small Business Opportunity Zone Act, introduced by Reps. John Curtis, R-Utah, and Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, “incentivizes private investment in these entities by providing their investors with similar tax incentives to opportunity zones.”
The bill “creates a new incentive to spur private investment in entrepreneurial businesses impacted by COVID-19, including helping mom-and-pop shops in Utah weather this crisis,” Curtis said.
— Check out 12 Worst States for Virus-Related Job Losses on ThinkAdvisor.