The latest round of emergency relief funds from the federal government was approved by Congress Thursday night, providing much needed additional funding for the loan program designed to help small businesses, including independent vehicle dealerships, get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act by an overwhelming 388-5 vote Thursday evening, two days after the Senate approved it by a voice vote. The White House said President Trump will sign the measure into law Friday.
National Independent Automobile Dealers Association CEO Steve Jordan said the new law is a necessary step for dealers across the nation struggling to keep their businesses afloat until the economy gets back to full speed.
“The funding from these loans is vital to keep these tens of thousands of small businesses viable so they can provide needed transportation to their customers,” Jordan said, “and just as important, so they can continue to provide jobs and income to their employees through this crisis.”
The new bill adds $310 billion to the depleted Paycheck Protection Program, which offers loans for small businesses to cover employee salaries, paid sick or medical leave, mortgage or rent payments, utilities and other debt obligations. The loans can be forgiven if certain conditions are met, such as 75 percent of the funds being used for payroll.
The PPP was created March 27 by the previous coronavirus relief bill, the CARES Act, but the $349 billion appropriated for the loans ran out within weeks.
The new bill also provides an additional $60 billion to the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
Also included in the $484 billion package was $75 billion in funding for hospitals and community health centers, and $25 billion for expanded coronavirus testing.