WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee, and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) announced that their $17 billion Small Business Debt Relief Act is included in the third COVID-19 response package that is expected to be passed into law soon. The legislation ensures that every small business with a loan backed by the Small Business Administration, or SBA, is relieved from loan payments—including principal, interest, and fees—for the next six months.

The Small Business Debt Relief Act of 2020 will be a lifeline for a wide range of American small businesses fighting for their survival over the coming months. Senators Coons and Cardin introduced the legislation last Wednesday and fought to include it in the stimulus package.

The bill gets substantial relief to all 320,000 small businesses across the country with SBA-backed loans. The SBA will make six months’ worth of those businesses’ loan payments – both principal and interest. This will stabilize the SBA lending portfolio and enable lenders to focus on getting hundreds of billions in new emergency loans out the door, putting a floor under part of the economy heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Small businesses in Delaware and across the country are already facing devastating impacts from the economic fallout of COVID-19,” said Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee and ranking member of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds the SBA. “We have no time to waste to help small businesses and the millions of employees whose livelihoods are at stake right now.  By stabilizing the existing portfolio of government-back business loans, this legislation enables lenders to provide new, emergency loans more quickly and more extensively. This is a new tool, bolder even than measures used during the Financial Crisis, and I’m optimistic that it will provide the relief that small business owners desperately need during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Small businesses and their workers are under incredible stress right now, and we have to do everything we can to help them weather the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, stay in business, and keep their workers employed,” Senator Klobuchar said. “The Small Business Debt Relief Act will provide immediate financial relief for many small businesses in Minnesota and across the country. I will continue working to support all small businesses during this time of crisis.”

In addition to Senators Coons, Cardin, and Klobuchar, cosponsors of the legislation include U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.). Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) is the sponsor of the Small Business Debt Relief Act in the House of Representatives.

The Small Business Debt Relief Act is endorsed by the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program, the Center for American Entrepreneurship, and the National Association of Development Companies.

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