WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) applauded the $900 billion agreement reached by the Senate and House to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide relief to the American people. The agreement includes unemployment aid, rental assistance, direct payments, support for schools, vaccine distribution, and more. It also extends the Paycheck Protection Program and includes legislation to support small businesses authored by Senator Coons.

“Congress has finally reached an agreement to provide desperately needed relief to people in Delaware and across the country,” Senator Coons said. “I am grateful to my colleagues – both Republicans and Democrats – who worked together for weeks to deliver compromise legislation after too many months of inaction. We cannot wait any longer. Families and small businesses in Delaware need this help now.” 

The bipartisan package supports small businesses with a range of grant and loan programs. It includes two proposals first introduced by Senator Coons: $284 billion for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans-to-grants – prioritized for businesses hit hard by the pandemic – ­and a $3.5 billion extension of the Small Business Debt Relief Program, which has already delivered $8 billion in debt relief, automatically, to more than 320,000 credit-constrained small businesses nationwide and nearly 900 in Delaware. The package also supports Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are private mission-driven financial lenders that deliver responsible, affordable lending to low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities. Over 300 CDFIs have served as PPP lenders, helping to reach some of the hardest-hit minority-owned small businesses.

“Small business owners across Delaware and the country have been fighting to preserve jobs in their communities, without badly needed help for too long. Finally, Congress has the opportunity to enact a bipartisan bill with robust additional aid for Main Street. In particular, I applaud the bipartisan negotiators for including a second round of forgivable loans for hard-hit business, and for extending the successful SBA debt relief program,” said Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program will allow for a second PPP loan to any small business or nonprofit with 300 or fewer employees that experienced substantial revenue decline during one quarter of 2020. The relief package also makes program improvements to PPP, simplifying the forgiveness process and ensuring that no borrower loses any tax deductions as a result of participating in PPP.

The extension of the Small Business Debt Relief Program will provide additional payments of principal and interest for small businesses with an SBA-backed loan.

The broader $900 billion bipartisan deal also includes a $300 per week federal Unemployment Insurance supplement to weekly state benefits, $25 billion in rental assistance, $10 billion for child care assistance, $69 billion for direct pandemic response and health care systems, and $166 billion for stimulus checks of up to $600 per individual. A vote is expected in the Senate as early as Monday, December 21.