Golden, Kelly Lead 22 Members to Urge Inclusion of RESTART Act in COVID-19 Relief Package
WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) and Congressman Mike Kelly (PA-16) led 22 bipartisan House members today to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to push for the inclusion of H.R. 7481, the RESTART Act, in their negotiations for upcoming COVID-19 legislation.
Golden and Kelly’s bill, introduced in the House last month, builds on the PPP and targets relief funds to small businesses hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The program offers small businesses partially forgivable loans for periods up to one year and provides needed flexibility for small businesses to cover a broad array of expenses, including payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility payments, and PPE. The RESTART Act now has 79 bipartisan cosponsors in the House.
“We continue to hear from employers across a range of industries and geographies about the need for long-term support to carry them through the disruption to their businesses and organizations due to the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote Golden, Kelly, and their colleagues. “The RESTART Act would provide this support, so we encourage you to include its provisions in the next round of aid so that workers in hard-hit industries will have jobs to come back to on the other side of this pandemic.”
Golden and Kelly’s RESTART Act has a bipartisan companion bill in the Senate, introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Todd Young (R-IN). That bill has also gained significant bipartisan support in the last month. In their letter, Golden and his colleagues noted that there is support in both parties and in both chambers for extending federal small business relief and for making necessary changes to existing relief programs.
“The RESTART Act fills a clear need for aid that goes beyond what the PPP or SBA’s 7(a) program will be able to provide,” continued the members of Congress. “RESTART is a better fit because it targets eligibility and loan forgiveness to employers that need it most, provides long-term support, and helps employers with a broad set of operating expenses instead of focusing on payroll costs. These features have drawn support from a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, hospitality, travel, recreation, entertainment, and fitness.”
The RESTART Act creates a small business relief program under the Small Business Administration, which would:
- Offer partially forgivable loans to small businesses that had a greater than 25 percent drop in their total income compared to the period before the coronavirus pandemic;
- Set the loan period between six months and one year depending on severity of income losses;
- Allow loan forgiveness for a wider range of expenses, including: Payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments, interest on existing debts, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other expenses;
- For loan amounts that are not forgiven, defer principal payments for up to four years
- Allow applicants for PPP to submit a modified PPP application to apply for RESTART;
- Require publicly traded companies to repay the full loan amount; and
- Report on identities and any loan forgiveness amounts of all recipients of the RESTART loans who have 50 or more employees.
Joining Golden and Kelly to send the letter were Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Anne Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), David Trone (MD-06), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Conor Lamb (PA-17), Dina Titus (NV-01), Harley Rouda (CA-48), Jim Cooper (TN-05), David Price (NC-04), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Tom Cole (OK-04), James Baird (IN-04), Luis Correa (CA-46), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Will Hurd (TX-23), and Pete Aguilar (CA-31).
Read a copy of the letter here.