Sens. Hassan, Burr introduce bipartisan bill to expand small business support amid COVID-19 pandemic
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced bipartisan legislation to expand small business and non-profits’ access to federal COVID-19 relief. The bipartisan Employer Assistance Coordination Act would allow eligible small employers to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help keep workers on payroll and pay for their health care coverage. Currently, small employers cannot participate in both of these programs.
“I’ve heard from business owners across New Hampshire who are doing everything that they can to survive. It’s clear that they need additional support to stay afloat and keep their workers employed,” said Senator Hassan. “This common-sense bill builds on existing federal programs and will help small employers save jobs — and I will push for it to be included in the upcoming COVID-19 relief package.”
“Small businesses across the nation continue to face unprecedented challenges,” said Senator Burr. “One way we can help is by giving eligible small businesses and non-profits the ability to retain their employees and continue to provide health care coverage. That’s why I’m proud to work with Senator Hassan on this legislation, which will improve the coordination between these two existing programs and help Main Street businesses overcome this economic uncertainty.”
The federal CARES Act created two major programs to assist small employers in retaining their employees: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). The PPP provides forgivable loans through the Small Business Administration to cover 8 weeks of payroll and other expenses. The ERTC provides a fully refundable tax credit to cover 50 percent of the first $10,000 in wages and certain health plan costs for each employee.
Currently, businesses and non-profits can only participate in one of the programs, but the Hassan-Burr legislation enables small employers to participate in both of them. The bill includes rules to prevent “double dipping,” so that employers cannot use funds from both programs for the same costs.
The Hassan-Burr Employer Assistance Coordination Act is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
Senator Hassan is working to support small businesses throughout the pandemic, and the Senate recently unanimously approved an extension of the deadline for small businesses and non-profits to apply for PPP loans. Senator Hassan also supported legislation – which is now law – to give small employers more flexibility in using these federal funds. In April, Senator Hassan also supported bipartisan legislation to significantly bolster funding for programs that aid small businesses, including PPP. Additionally, Senator Hassan recently joined a group of her colleagues in urging U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza to readjust regulatory requirements so that seasonal employers in New Hampshire and across the country can access the full amount of the PPP loans for which they qualify.