Congress May Look at New COVID Package during Lame Duck

The increase in COVID cases is causing many states, including New York, to impose new restrictions on some businesses and locations.  When coupled with the fact that many COVID benefits will soon expire, Congress is under increasing pressure to reach a compromise on a COVID legislative package.

Last week, a bi-partisan compromise package was floated by several U.S. Senators and members of Congress.  It has received support from Senator Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi.  We have been working with Senator Schumer’s office and the NAB to include provisions regarding the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program into the compromise package. We have focused on several issues.

First stations should be able to receive a “second draw loan.”  Because broadcasters remained on the air, many have already spent their initial loans.  Now that we are in a second wave, these stations should be eligible to receive a second PPP loan.

Second, a number of broadcast stations were ineligible to receive an initial PPP loan.  SBA rules excluded many radio and TV groups because they had more than 500 employees nationwide.  We have been seeking to modify this definition by looking at local markets.

Finally, Section 1112 of the CARES Act provides for the SBA to pay, not just defer, principal and interest on SBA 7 (a) and 504 loans for 6 months.  We are seeking to have this extended in the new COVID Package.

At this point it is not clear whether the $908 billion compromise package will pass.  Issues regarding business liability and state funding remain. Nonetheless, it is becoming evident that time is of the essence and relief must come soon.

We have been working closely with the NAB and other state broadcast associations to move this forward.  Senator Schumer’s office has been terrific! We will keep you informed as the process develops.

 

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