Below is the latest America Forward “Tip Sheet,” a weekly update related to COVID-19 relief and recovery legislation.
Funding Challenges Facing Small Business Administration Loan Programs
As of Thursday, the Small Business Administration announced that it is “unable to accept new applications at this time for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding.”
The latest news indicates that the Administration and lawmakers are working towards compromise legislation to replenish the loan programs.
More information about the full suite of relief options available from the SBA can be found here.
On Wednesday, the Treasury Department updated its Paycheck Protection Program FAQs, which can be found here.
New Federal Reserve-Backed Lending Programs
The Federal Reserve (the Fed) has announced that through its Main Street Lending program, it will purchase a combined total of $600 billion of non-forgivable loans, with the goal of enabling banks to make more of these loans. Unlike the PPP, these loans are not forgivable, and are not no-risk loans for banks. The minimum loan amount is $1 million; depending on the type of loan, the maximum will be either $25 million or potentially considerably larger. Principal and interest payments can be deferred for up to a year.
This week, America Forward led the development of a letter (link is here) – in partnership with Results for America, Project Evident, YearUp, REDF and others – that was sent to the Federal Reserve urging nonprofit inclusion in these lending programs.
In our letter, we noted the exclusion of nonprofits is especially problematic for larger entities with over 500 employees that are also, in many cases, excluded from the PPP. While nonprofits with under 500 employees are eligible for PPP, the implementation challenges and funding shortfall associated with the PPP further underscores the importance of opening up the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending programs to nonprofits.
Governor’s Funding in Education Stabilization Act
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced that it would quickly make available nearly $3 billion in funding through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund. Authorized by the CARES Act, the GEER Fund is “an extraordinarily flexible ‘emergency block grant’ designed to enable governors to decide how best to meet the needs of students, schools (including charter schools and non-public schools), postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations.” Find the ED’s press release here.
Once states have submitted their applications, funding is expected to be obligated by the Department to the states within three business days. Under the GEER Fund, each state will have tremendous flexibility in disbursing these funds, so we encourage our Coalition members to engage quickly with state officials and local partners to determine what resources might be available in your communities and how you might access them.
Federal Action to Expand Online Learning Access in light of COVID-19
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken several steps to expand access to the E-Rate program, which provides discounts for telecommunications, internet access and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries. More information on the E-Rate program and changes in response to COVID-19 can be found here.
Last week in Washington, while most Members of Congress were in their home states and districts, congressional leaders and the Administration officials had ongoing discussions about the next phase of COVID-19 related funding, including additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). While no agreement is in place as of now, we join many of you in pushing for Congress to provide additional funds to the program. America Forward also continues our work with congressional leaders to advocate for critical funding in the areas of education, workforce, health care and national service that will support the work of our Coalition.
As we navigate this crisis together, America Forward remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting our Coalition members and partners, providing timely and accurate information and analysis, and advancing our collective policy and advocacy priorities.
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