Gardner expects vote today to loosen PPP restrictions

The U.S. Senate may vote as soon as today to create greater flexibility for businesses that are participating in the Paycheck Protection Program that was created as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act.

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, told the NoCo Strong for Business collaboration of local governments in Northern Colorado Wednesday that a bill to extend the eight-week loan-forgiveness period could be voted on Wednesday. The U.S. House has already passed a bill that would extend the forgiveness period.

PPP provided business loans that were equal to 2.5 times monthly payroll. The loans, at low interest rates, could be forgiven if the money was spent within eight weeks and if 75% of the money was spent on payroll. The remaining 25% could be spent on specific expenses such as rent and utilities.

The two goals of the program, according to Brian Wanamaker, a Gardner staff member, were to provide pay to workers unable to work because of business closures during the COVID-19 pandemic and also to keep workers attached to employers so that reopening could occur more quickly.

Gardner said $11 billion in PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loans have been issued to Coloradans so far.

Gardner said the Senate is also considering changing the 75/25 split to provide greater flexibility for businesses that need fewer workers but have higher overhead costs such as rent and utilities. The Senate may also increase the loan amounts from 2.5 times monthly payroll to four times, he said.

Gardner touted two other programs that he is working to pass. One, called Rehire America, would provide additional assistance to employers. The other, the Great America Outdoors Act, would provide $1.9 billion annually to national parks to help catch up on unfunded maintenance. This bill could result in additional hiring of local people to work in national parks. Voting on the parks bill may occur next week, and it has the president’s support, Gardner said.


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