Rep. Chu Votes to Improve Paycheck Protection Program
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), voted to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This bill would increase appropriations for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from $349 billion to $670.355 billion, including $310 billion for loans. It establishes a set-aside of $30 billion specifically for community banks and smaller lenders with between $10 billion and $50 billion in assets and an additional $30 billion for institutions with less than $10 billion. The set-aside does not prevent these lenders from accessing the remaining PPP funds available for all lenders. The bill also increases appropriations for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency grant program from $10 billion to $20 billion, makes agricultural enterprises with fewer than 500 employees eligible for EIDL loans and grants, and increases appropriations for Disaster Loans by $50 billion. This bill also includes $75 billion in additional appropriations for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to reimburse health care providers for expenses or lost revenue that are attributable to the coronavirus. And it provides $25 billion for expenses related to COVID-19 testing, including $11 billion for States and localities to develop, purchase, administer, process, and analyze COVID-19 tests. Rep. Chu issued the following statement:
“Our twin priorities right now are to contain this virus and reopen our economy. But we cannot do either until we have an accurate count of who has been infected. This has been impossible, though, because of the severe shortage of COVID-19 tests across the nation, including here in the San Gabriel Valley. That’s why I’m so proud that Democrats fought to include $25 billion in this package to expand our testing capacity.
“And on the same day the latest unemployment report showed over 26 million Americans have filed for first time unemployment since the start of this crisis, this bill helps to stop the bleeding by improving the Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP was intended to help all businesses stay afloat and keep their employees paid, which in turn helps families survive this crisis. But because Treasury opened lending authority up to the biggest banks without any requirements for equitable lending, most small businesses got shut out of the initial relief, hampering the ability of the PPP to help as intended. That’s why we insisted that this legislation improve the PPP so that it actually reaches those it was intended to help by setting aside $60 billion for small community lenders. I agree that we must be acting quickly to get Americans the help they need. But simply rubber-stamping the Senate’s proposal, as Republicans wanted, would have ossified the inequality created by the last version. It also would have $75 billion desperately needed funding for our hospitals so that we can get a handle on this public health crisis. I’ve heard my constituents and they’re in need of help right now. We couldn’t risk authorizing billions more in aid only to see it flow directly to the biggest businesses and without providing our hospitals with the resources they need to fight this virus. I’m proud of our work to actually improve this bill and ensure it gets to the American people. And I’m proud to have such broad bipartisan support for this version.”