Story at a glance
- Noting that small businesses employ almost half of private sector employees and compose about 44 percent of U.S. GDP, major corporate leaders call for extended PPP.
- Congress is still debating the terms of the forthcoming coronavirus relief bill.
As Congress debates the provisions included in the next coronavirus relief package, some of the U.S.’s most powerful CEOs and business leaders penned a letter to leaders on Capitol Hill asking for another round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses across the country bridge the financial gap left gaping by the coronavirus-induced lockdowns.
Published by Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, the letter outlines principles that are vital to salvaging small businesses amid the economic contraction. Long-lasting federally backed loans with favorable interest rates, flexibility in how funds are spent, eligibility for partial loan forgiveness for businesses experiencing a severe decline in revenue are some of the recommended principles, delivered at an expeditious rate.
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It is addressed to the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif).
“Small businesses are too critical to our country’s economic strength to let fail. From retailers and restaurants to consulting firms and manufacturers, small business owners are facing a future of potential financial ruin that will make the nation’s economic downturn last years longer than it must,” the letter reads.
Among the signatories urging politicians to transcend part lines and come to an agreement on another relief bill are David Hoffman, the CEO of Dunkin’ Brands; Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks Corp; Thomas J. Donohue, the CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart; and Tom Bené, CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
Noting that there is strong bipartisan support for the RESTART Act, a bill proposed by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), the signatories ask that the next relief bill model the current outline of the proposed legislation.
The RESTART Act specifically focuses on extended PPP loans with 16 weeks to businesses with less than 500 full-time employees and who have reported a decline in revenues of at least 25 percent.
It also carries the option of forgiveness through the taxable 2020 year.
Urgency is of chief importance within the letter, citing that tens of millions of Americans employed through small businesses have lost their jobs, and if action is not taken, another wave of permanent closures will exacerbate the existing issue by Labor Day.
“This is not a call for bottomless handouts,” the letter reads. “It is a defining moment to show how capitalism can benefit all Americans, particularly entrepreneurs who have been forced to shutter or reduce the capacity of their businesses through no fault of their own.”
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