Shaheen Calls on Trump Admin to Immediately Provide Late Guidance on PPP Loan Forgiveness to Small Businesses

May 08, 2020

**Letter follows Shaheen’s conversations with New Hampshire small businesses and non-profits that have expressed concern about spending their PPP loan money without guidance on loan forgiveness**

 **Shaheen calls guidance on loan forgiveness issued by the Administration so far “entirely insufficient”**

 (Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on the Trump administration today to immediately address small business concerns and provide guidance on loan forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which established the PPP, requires the administration to provide this guidance no later than 30 days after becoming law. It has been more than 40 days since the CARES Act was signed into law. Shaheen helped negotiate the small business provisions in the CARES Act, including the PPP, with Senators Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD) and Collins (R-ME). In New Hampshire, nearly 20,000 small businesses and nonprofits have received more than $2.5 billion in low-interest, forgivable loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Shaheen wrote, “…it has now been more than 40 days since the enactment of the CARES Act, and guidance regarding eligibility for forgiveness of PPP loan funds is virtually non-existent. This lack of guidance has left small businesses uncertain about their ability to use these funds… given that the application period for the first round of PPP loans opened on April 3, and current SBA guidance is very strict in its interpretation of the 8-week period of payroll expenses that are eligible for forgiveness, small businesses are becoming understandably concerned about the lack of clarity surrounding the circumstances under and extent to which PPP principal balances will be forgiven.”

Senator Shaheen requested that the administration immediately issue guidance on the parameters for forgiveness of the loans under the PPP and to respond to a number of other questions raised by small businesses, who Shaheen spoke with earlier this week – both those successful and unsuccessful in securing PPP loans. Small business owners that had received a PPP loan expressed concern about spending the PPP funding without guidance from the administration about how those loans could be forgiven and what requirements there are to demonstrate that it spending does not overlap with the use of their Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Grants.  

Shaheen concluded by saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic represents an existential threat to small businesses in this country, but the PPP program offers a lifeline. It is vital this program works well for small businesses from application through forgiveness.”

The letter can be read in full here.

 This week, with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), Shaheen unveiled the Transparency and Oversight of COVID-19 Small Business Recover Assistance Act to provide greater transparency and oversight of the Trump administration’s implementation of the PPP and EIDL grant program. The Senators sought to pass this legislation through the Senate through unanimous consent, but were blocked by Senate Republicans.

 Senator Shaheen has called for oversight hearings on the implementation of small business relief programs in the CARES Act, as many small businesses continue to experience difficulties accessing the programs. She has also called for changes that would allow for smaller businesses to better access the program, particularly businesses that don’t have a relationship with big banks, as well as additional funding for health care providers. Senator Shaheen continues to call for other changes to the PPP program to help New Hampshire’s small businesses, including extending key deadlines, and is urging that these fixes be included in future COVID-19 response legislation.