Evans Pushing for Urgent Help for Small Businesses to Recover from Pandemic, Looting
PHILADELPHIA (June 5, 2020) – Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-03) is pushing for urgent help for small businesses in Philadelphia and many other U.S. communities that now face a steeper road to recovery because of both the pandemic and recent looting.
“These small businesses are not at fault for the pandemic or the looting. And helping them to recover quickly is in everyone’s interest since these small businesses are not only the backbone of the American economy but especially of the often-struggling neighborhoods where they are located. For saving or restoring jobs, for stability, we need to get them more help and we need to do it as soon as possible,” said Evans, vice chair of the House Small Business Committee.
Evans plans to introduce a new bill that would improve the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Currently, states with disaster declarations can apply for SBA approval to enable businesses affected by the disaster to apply for EIDL loans. A state can make a disaster declaration for the pandemic, as well as one for the vandalism and property damage caused by looting that occurred during recent protests. Evans’ pending bill would also make the loans forgivable if they’re related to the recent looting.
Evans also plans to have the bill address a concern some small businesses have raised that the initial $10,000 advance they receive as part of EIDL could be taxable. He wants to make sure those funds would not be taxable for the existing program or for the addition he is proposing.
Evans said, “We need to have an urgency about rebuilding small businesses and jobs. Even with some limited good news on jobs this week, we still had another 1.9 million people who applied for unemployment, for a total of over 42 million unemployed Americans since mid-March. Combined with the damage from looting, that is a huge economic hole to climb out of. Now is not the time to let up on recovery!”
Evans also renewed his call for the Senate to vote on the Heroes Act the House passed three weeks ago on May 15. That sweeping relief bill includes enhancing the new employee retention tax credit that encourages employers to keep employees on payroll, allowing 60 million Americans to remain connected to their paychecks and benefits. It would also respond flexibly to small businesses by providing $10 billion for Covid-19 emergency grants through the EIDL program. Changes the bill would make to the Paycheck Protection Program are being addressed through the separate, narrower PPP Flexibility Act that passed the Senate this week after a delay and has been signed into law.
Evans is also a lead co-sponsor of the bipartisan RELIEF for Main Street Act, which would create a new $50.5 billion Small Business Local Relief Program to provide direct federal support to cities, counties and states to seed and scale local relief funds and target small businesses with 20 employees or fewer, or with 50 employees or fewer located in low-income neighborhoods.
Because no two communities are alike, under the RELIEF for Main Street bill, local relief funds could be tailored based on capacity and the financial needs and conditions of local businesses. Grants to small businesses through the program would be given directly to communities and not have to go through financial institutions and would not have to be paid back.
Evans said his pending bill, the RELIEF for Main Street Act and the Heroes Act would build on previous bills helping small business that became law this year, including:
- The first law passed to deal with the coronavirus, which was enacted in March and included $1 billion to generate about $7 billion in loans to small businesses affected by the outbreak.
- The CARES Act, also enacted in March, which included a $377 billion infusion of fast relief for small businesses, primarily through the Paycheck Protection Program, and made rent, mortgage and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
- An interim law passed in April that included an additional $321 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, plus $50 billion in loan subsidies to fund about $350 billion in SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, as well as $10 billion for EIDL grants.
“Congress has passed a sizable amount of relief, but we have not seen an economic crisis of this size in over 80 years, when America suffered through the Great Depression – which was made much worse by Congress not providing action on the scale that was needed. We cannot repeat that mistake. We can all see the economic devastation from the pandemic and now from looting. Urgent action is still needed!” Evans said.
Evans represents Pennsylvania’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Northwest and West Philadelphia and parts of North, South, aSouthwest and Center City Philadelphia.