As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress created the "Paycheck Protection Program" (PPP) to provide loans to help small businesses stay afloat and retain employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This wildly popular program delivered over $500 billion to struggling businesses who used it to save jobs and keep themselves afloat. We also provided a path for the loans to be forgiven if they were used properly. However, while PPP was a great success, it now gives small businesses and lenders a new source of anxiety.
Congress can and should play its part in alleviating their concerns and allow them to focus on restarting the American economy. In June, my colleagues and I introduced the "Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act," bipartisan legislation to streamline the forgiveness process for small businesses which received PPP loans.
We can avoid the burdensome cost of superfluous bureaucracy required to arrive at the forgone conclusion of loan forgiveness by implementing a few commonsense changes. Our bill would give small businesses peace of mind by eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic requirements and simplifying the process for forgiving smaller loans.
The Act offers forgiveness for PPP loans of $150,000 or less if the borrower submits a simple, legally-binding, one-page attestation form to the lender.
This threshold would account for 86% of total PPP recipients, but less than 27% of PPP loan dollars.
Here's a break down by each state and territory:
The legislation is supported by leading banking groups, as well as members of the agricultural community, who applauded its introduction:
"The current forgiveness application is unnecessarily burdensome for many businesses, particularly the smallest of small businesses without the administrative support needed to complete the form. Small businesses and their employees are the backbone of our nation’s economy and communities. This bipartisan automatic forgiveness process will allow businesses to focus their time and resources on seeing customers and hiring employees instead of hiring consultants to fill out paperwork."
"Providing a safe-harbor for smaller PPP loan forgiveness is a top priority for the ICBA. ICBA appreciates and supports the needed relief these senators are advancing on PPP loan forgiveness and it will help both small businesses and lenders better serve their customers and communities."
"America’s credit unions wholeheartedly support the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act. This bill will allow America’s small business owners and Main Street financial institutions to remain focused on serving their communities rather than on jumping through burdensome regulatory hurdles."
"Farm Credit is grateful to these senators for introducing this common sense legislation. It will greatly simplify the Paycheck Protection Program loan process for farmers impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure they get those loans forgiven quickly as intended."
Banking and agricultural leaders in North Dakota also voiced their support for the bill:
"I appreciate Senator Cramer introducing loan forgiveness legislation for those smaller businesses that are challenged with the cumbersome process to qualify for legitimate forgiveness. It would be especially helpful for agricultural operations where certain expenses are more difficult to plug in since agriculture is defined on an annual basis."
"The North Dakota Bankers Association supports Senator Cramer and his efforts to reduce the unnecessarily burdensome PPP loan forgiveness process on our nation's small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act will serve the interests of small business owners, taxpayers, and the policy objectives established by Congress, by making the loan forgiveness process easier and less technical for smaller borrowers, whose businesses are already at greatest risk because of COVID-19."
"Because the forgiveness rules and procedures that have been outlined for small businesses and lenders are far too complex, small-business borrowers and lenders alike need reforms such as those outlined in Senator Cramer’s bill to ensure PPP loans are the economic lifeline that Congress intended."
"The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) successfully delivered over $1.7 billion in vital financial assistance to over 19,500 North Dakota small businesses. The success of the PPP will be determined ultimately on whether small business owners receive loan forgiveness. An increasing number of small business owners will be applying for forgiveness as they expend their PPP funds over the summer. This bill will provide a more efficient way to demonstrate compliance and receive forgiveness as small businesses re-open and work to recover from this unprecedented economic and public health crisis. NFIB thanks Senator Cramer for introducing legislation that will save small business owners time, money, and resources during that process."
"We greatly appreciate Senator Cramer’s leadership on this important legislation. The Paycheck Protection Program is providing much needed COVID 19 related relief for North Dakota farmers and ranchers, and this legislation will provide more efficient and timely administration of related and intended loan forgiveness."
The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act has 30 cosponsors in the Senate. Here's what they say about it:
"Fully forgiving Arizona small businesses’ PPP loans provides needed economic certainty to local employers—which have suffered losses through no fault of their own—while protecting Arizonans’ jobs and paychecks."
"We designed the Paycheck Protection Program to get swift relief to our small businesses. It should not be a burden for the smallest of these businesses to get the loan forgiveness promised them by this program. Nearly 70,000 of the 81,000 PPP loans made to Arizona businesses would qualify for this program and this bill ensures these mom-and-pop shops can focus on what matters—running their business—by granting automatic forgiveness for loans of $150,000 or less."
"Small businesses across New Jersey and the country are doing everything they can to withstand the economic impact of this unprecedented pandemic. And, for many of them, PPP loans have been their only available lifeline to keep their doors open. We want them to succeed. We want them to keep people employed and keep serving their communities. The bipartisan Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act cuts these struggling small businesses a break when they need it most by providing them full forgiveness on PPP loans of $150,000 or less. Automatically forgiving PPP loans for these small businesses allows them to focus their limited resources on keeping their business going and makes it easier for them to have their PPP loans forgiven. I would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this commonsense legislation."
"The virus has already made life difficult enough for small business owners—they shouldn’t have to spend precious time navigating federal bureaucracies to get needed relief. Our bill will simplify loan forgiveness for these businesses and prioritize the SBA’s attention on the largest loans."
“America’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we have asked them to do a lot this year. Shutdown to bend the curve. Apply for a government loan to keep employees on the payroll. Reopen the economy safely. Provide PPE to your employees. Providing a simplified loan forgiveness process for small business owners will help lessen the burden they have shouldered due to coronavirus. It’s the least Congress can do to help them get back on their feet and help get people safely back to work.”
"The Paycheck Protection Program played a crucial role in supporting small businesses and saving jobs for hardworking North Carolinians. I am proud to co-introduce this bipartisan legislation that will help small businesses save thousands of dollars to ask for forgiveness for their PPP loan and use those funds to help re-start our economy."
“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed such a heavy burden on small businesses in Alabama and across the country. Small business owners have already suffered enough by simply trying to keep their businesses afloat during these trying times without having to needlessly deal with more paperwork to forgive their Paycheck Protection Program loans. Borrowers and banks alike are in need of immediate relief. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that lenders are able to forgive loans under $150,000 and allow for business owners to focus on adapting to this new normal,."
“Amid an already incredibly difficult situation, making it easier for Alaska’s small business owners to get their PPP loans forgiven is significant. Making the process easier for our small businesses is one huge benefit, but it is also significant that passing this simple piece of legislation could save small businesses and lenders nearly $2 billion nationwide. As one of the biggest priorities expressed by small business lenders in Alaska, I’m proud to support this bill which will support more of Alaska’s small businesses in their pursuit of financial recovery.”
“The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped hundreds of South Dakota small businesses keep their lights on and their workers employed throughout the pandemic. PPP loans are forgivable if employers use the funds to keep employees on the payroll. Our legislation would eliminate the red-tape businesses have to deal with in order to go through the loan forgiveness process. We want to make the process simpler and more efficient. I’m pleased that our common sense legislation is gaining steam in Congress.”
“The Paycheck Protection Program has been a critical lifeline for small businesses across Colorado, but the current red tape required to forgive the smallest of those loans threatens to undermine their benefit. I’m proud to join the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act to reduce the stress, financial burdens, and uncertainty small businesses face.”
"PPP has been a lifeline for small businesses in West Virginia. As the pandemic continues, we’re making tweaks that improve the program and help keep employers and employees connected. For the smallest of our small businesses who took out modest loans, this bill will create a streamlined paperwork process with a one-page form, allowing business owners to direct more of their focus on working safely and less on red tape."
"The Paycheck Protection Program has been a lifeline for so many small businesses in Georgia and across the country. Under this bipartisan bill, loans under $150K – which comprise of 86% of PPP loans – will be immediately forgiven. Simplifying the forgiveness process will give small business owners certainty and allow them to focus their time and resources on safely reopening their business and adapting to this new normal."
“I’ve heard concerns from many Alaskans about the bureaucracy and costs that smaller businesses could be faced with when receiving forgiveness for their PPP loans. I’m glad to cosponsor a commonsense bill to shield smaller PPP loan recipients from these high compliance costs at a time when they are already so vulnerable. Senator Cramer has done yeoman’s work bringing more of our colleagues on board and I am hopeful, with this robust bipartisan support, we will get it passed and signed into law.”
"The vast majority of Paycheck Protection Program loans have gone to very small mom-and-pop businesses that are struggling to make ends meet as it is. The last thing they need is to spend money and time on bureaucratic paperwork to receive the loan forgiveness Congress designed the program to provide. This commonsense bill led by Senator Cramer will make it easier for these small businesses to apply for forgiveness so they can continue to recover and emerge from the pandemic stronger than before."
"The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) continues to provide America’s small businesses with a critical lifeline during these difficult times. In order to keep this successful program going, we need to address some of the uncertainty regarding the loan forgiveness process. Our bipartisan bill does this by simplifying the forgiveness certification for businesses with loans under $150,000. This will provide immediate relief to our smallest businesses who simply don’t have the time or resources needed to navigate the current complex PPP loan forgiveness process. It also means PPP participants across Wyoming can focus on running their small businesses instead of filling out unnecessary paperwork."
"The Paycheck Protection Program was designed specifically to help American workers and their small business employers weather the economic storm caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. This bill provides further relief and flexibility for the small businesses who worked in their best, honest efforts to keep staff employed during these uncertain times."
"The impacts of COVID-19 on our economy have hurt Montana small businesses and our workers. This bill removes the costly barriers our small business owners face when applying for a Paycheck Protection Loan. This will also greatly help our small businesses and workers by providing blanket forgiveness for loans below $150,000."
"Small businesses across America and West Virginia are hurting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we must do more to help them. The Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act will help our small businesses by streamlining the process for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness, giving them the support they need right now to keep their employees and their doors open. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this commonsense, bipartisan legislation that helps Main Street stay afloat."
"The Paycheck Protection Program has been a lifeline for workers and small businesses in Missouri and states across the nation. This bill eliminates burdensome red tape to make it easier for employers to use the PPP loans to keep workers on the payroll and help businesses bounce back quickly."
"The PPP has been a critical lifeline for small businesses and has helped millions of Americans continue to receive their paychecks during the COVID-19 crisis. However, the bureaucratic hurdles small business owners need to clear to prove their eligibility for loan forgiveness are overly burdensome for the 85 percent of recipients who received loans of $150,000 or less. Simplifying the loan forgiveness process for the smallest borrowers will the burden of extensive paperwork and allow small businesses to focus on retaining jobs and growing our economy."
“The federal government needs to make good on its promises to Oklahoma small businesses and lenders with the PPP program and make loan forgiveness straight forward and efficient. Simplifying the process for loans of $150,000 and less will ensure small businesses and financial institutions can get loans processed in a timely manner and provide a safe harbor for lenders, while maintaining the requirements and audibility standards from the CARES Act and subsequent guidance from SBA. I appreciate Oklahoma’s lenders who stepped up to the plate to get PPP loans out the door quickly and properly, and I look forward to this bipartisan bill’s passage to streamline the PPP loan application and forgiveness process.”
“The Paycheck Protection Program has been crucial for many small businesses in Mississippi. This legislation will simplify the forgiveness process, allowing small business owners to focus on reopening their business safely, which will play a big part in our nation’s economic recovery.”
“The PPP program is working. In Oklahoma alone, the program has helped hundreds of thousands of employees retain their jobs through loans to small businesses, but expensive and time consuming paperwork still looms. I want our small businesses to be able to focus on safely reopening, not government paperwork and red tape. I’m proud to cosponsor this legislation to streamline the forgiveness process for smaller loans which represent 89 percent of all the loans in Oklahoma—to provide certainty to our local businesses.”
"The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses especially hard. This legislation would simplify and streamline the forgiveness process for Paycheck Protection Program loans under $150,000. It would allow small businesses to focus on what's important, using their time and energy to keep their businesses afloat."