Problem Solvers Caucus Endorses Phillips Fix for Small Business Relief Programs

May 26, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, May 26, 2020, the Problem Solvers Caucus formally endorsed the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Actlegislation that will revamp some of the rules within the current Paycheck Protection Program, making it more accessible and equitable for small businesses looking to weather the current economic storm.

Problem Solvers, Reps. Dean Phillips (D- MN) introduced the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act in the House of Representatives along with Fred Upton (R-MI). The legislation received the caucus’ endorsement after more than 75 percent of the 50-member caucus agreed to support the bill. The House is expected to vote on the legislation tomorrow.

"This new bipartisan legislation is critical to making important fixes and providing new, essential flexibility to the PPP program that will help small businesses and jobs in my District," said Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair, Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ). "More than 99% of businesses in New Jersey are small businesses. With our state at the epicenter of this pandemic, I'm working hard to get federal relief to our businesses and workers, so they can survive this economic crisis, recover, and grow."

“As we continue to ensure the health and safety of Americans during this pandemic, it’s critical that we also continue to protect our small businesses and provide them with the support they need to get through these challenging times,” said Problem Solvers Co-Chair, Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY).  

“Representation begins with listening, and I am hearing from too many Minnesota small business owners who have received PPP loans but are afraid to use the money because of the inflexible, one size fits all rules - and others who are not applying for aid at all out of fear and confusion,” said Rep. Dean Phillips. “It won’t matter how much money we appropriate if the distribution mechanisms are broken. Congress now has an opportunity to fix what’s broken and make this important relief program more accessible and useable to the small businesses that need it the most. I am encouraged by the bipartisan cooperation of my colleagues in the House and Senate, and look forward to working with them to push these reforms over the finish line without delay. Every day counts, and time cannot be wasted.”

“As much as we all wanted this crisis to be over by Easter, the Paycheck Protection Program small business lifeline must be extended to account for the continued uncertainty that otherwise would absolutely drown our small businesses as they attempt to get back on their feet,” said Rep. Fred Upton.

“The ‘smaller’ small businesses, especially restaurants, doctors, dentists, electricians, plumbers and other mom and pops need more time over which to spend this money and more flexibility. This bill provides that flexibility during these difficult times. We have to look out for the little guys and their employees,” said Rep. Tom Suozzi. 

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Rep. Kendra Horn. “The PPP program has already provided critical funding to keep businesses afloat and workers employed during the pandemic, but there are some changes we need to make to get help to all employers who need relief. This bipartisan legislation represents the kind of across-the-aisle collaboration we need to save American jobs during this crisis.”

“The PPP is an important relief program that has missed the mark on several points. We need to provide more flexibility to our small businesses when they use PPP funds,” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. “By extending the deadline for businesses to use their PPP funds and eliminating the onerous 75-25 forgiveness requirement for payroll and non-payroll expenses, we can make this program work better for small businesses and mom and pop shops across the country. I am happy to join the Problem Solvers in endorsing this commonsense legislation.”

“Even as some states begin phased reopening procedures, many beloved small businesses across our nation have closed their doors for good,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran. “I cosponsored the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act to improve, expand, and extend the Paycheck Protection Program, and ensure that mom and pop shops can both access and spend the funds they need without navigating endless red tape.”

“The Paycheck Protection Program is a lifeline for our nation’s small businesses, however this program is not without flaws,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell. “I welcome and support the reasonable reforms the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act makes to this important program, reforms that respond to the realities small businesses in my community and communities across the country are facing as they grapple with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Our small businesses are the backbone of our economy and no mom and pop shop should have to turn off their lights for good because of the global pandemic,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi.  “Across Upstate New York and around the country, small business owners have done their part to help fight back against COVID-19 and it is time for Washington to do theirs. This measure is a common-sense solution that will provide more flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has been vital during these difficult times. We are all fighting COVID-19 together and this legislation, supported by Democrats and Republicans, will give our small businesses another tool to help in this fight.”

"Over the last several months, I’ve heard from hundreds of local business owners in North Texas about the devastating impacts COVID-19 has had on their families, businesses, and the livelihoods of their employees,” said Rep. Van Taylor. “The bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act provides the flexibility needed to help ensure the Paycheck Protection Program is able to fulfill its original purpose and help small businesses across the country survive this pandemic."

“I hear it every day: Michigan small business owners are grateful for PPP loans, but don’t know if they can spend most of the money within the required eight weeks –– particularly with so many of them not yet open,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin said. “Our businesses need the added time and flexibility this bill provides. I’m thrilled to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Problem Solvers Caucus to support this bipartisan fix to the PPP program. This bill extends the time businesses have to use PPP funds to the duration of the crisis, and adds flexibility so they can use the funds in the ways they need. It’s not complicated: this bill helps entrepreneurs, workers, and our local economies.”

“I’m proud to be a cosponsor of the PPP Flexibility Act,” said Rep. Dave Joyce. “As we continue to ensure the health and safety of Americans during this pandemic, it’s critical that we also continue to protect our small businesses, and the PPP Flexibility Act will do just that. This bipartisan bill will help ensure small businesses have the support and flexibility they need to stay afloat until they can once again open their doors, our constituents can get back to work, and our economy is reignited.”

“Small business owners are facing great uncertainty about what the coming weeks and months will bring,” said Rep. Dan Lipinski. “The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act provides added security for employers and employees by extending the period over which small businesses may utilize PPP funds, ensuring that recipients still have access to payroll tax deferment, and giving businesses more time with which to pay back their loans. The PPP Flexibility Act is evidence of what we can accomplish when policymakers are willing to work together for the good of the American people.”

“The Paycheck Protection Program has been a lifeline for many small businesses and their employees,  but lacked important flexibility. This bipartisan bill allows, among other things, loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period. That will help businesses who must follow more gradual re-opening guidelines,” said Rep. Ben McAdams.

“I’ve heard from small businesses that the PPP has been critical in keeping them from permanently closing their doors,” said Rep. Don Bacon.  “I’ve also heard clearly that they need the flexibility in this bill to quickly recover. Omaha’s restaurants and hotels are in particular need for this Flexibility Act.”

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act will create more flexibility for small businesses by:

  • Extending the expense forgiveness period beyond the originally stipulated eight weeks
  • Adjusting the 75 percent-to-payroll requirement
  • Eliminating 2-year loan repayment restrictions
  • Prohibiting mutual exclusivity of PPP loans and payroll tax deferments
  • Dropping the June 30 rehire deadline