Kilmer, Herrera Beutler Work Together to Help Main Street Employers
New federal funds for small business, major infrastructure investments and a better overall strategy to reopen the country highlighted a Wednesday webinar with two members of Congress.
They're working together on major relief bill for the nation's small businesses: The $900 billion Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. It would augment the original Paycheck Protection Program, which was part of the CARES Act, as well as the additional funding approved for the program last week.
"We know that we're going to be dealing with this for months, and let's see if we can get some relief for folks going now, so that we don't run out of funds again," said Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Washington's 3rd Congressional District.
The measure roughly triples the amount of funding for the current phase of the Paycheck Protection Program. As the coronavirus shut down the economy, the first phase of funding, about $350 billion, was allocated in a matter of days. The second, current phase is expected to be gone quickly as well. Congress allocated about $310 billion for the current phase.
(Check out audio of Wednesday's webinar below.)
Kilmer, a Democrat from Washington's 6th Congressional District, is also pushing a tax credit that would be a major boost for many.
The Restore America's Main Street Act would provide a 30% tax credit for qualifying businesses, up to $120,000. The money would not have to be repaid.
"The idea here is to provide a rebate to help our nation's small businesses to retain employees, and to pay bills and keep the lights on," Kilmer said.
The measure would apply to small businesses with less than $1.5 million or less in gross receipts, and 50 or fewer employees. Self-employed individuals and some charitable organizations would be eligible. He announced the bill's introduction last Friday.
Kilmer also said he supports 501 (c)(6) organizations, which include chambers of commerce, in their effort to become eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
"That has not yet been provided legislatively but we're pushing for that," he said.
Kilmer and Herrera Beutler also discussed their support for more testing and contact tracing to help the country's businesses reopen safely.
"We have to have testing availability widespread in our community and the ability to contact trace," Herrera Beutler said. "…That's how we move forward. That's how we get our economy open again, that's how we come into our new normal. And the fact that were still having to ask for this is very frustrating."
Looking ahead, Kilmer mentioned how America's infrastructure has been given a D-plus grade by the American Society of Civil Engineers. And he characterized some of the recent federal spending measures as a "stop the bleeding" package rather than a stimulus.
"At some point we’re going to have to have a conversation around how do we grow this economy, and one of the smartest things we can do…is invest in infrastructure," he said.
Kilmer closed Wednesday's webinar by thanking the business community.
"To all the employers participating in this webinar, I just want to say thank you," Kilmer said. "…We're doing all we can to help you weather this storm ."
And Herrera Beutler said she's overcome fear about the situation through prayer, talking to her husband and recognizing that she still has as job to do by serving individuals, families and businesses.
"That really helped me change my perspective," she said.
AWB's next webinar is scheduled for Monday, May 4. There are two portions. The first one covers business insurance coverage from 10-11 a.m. The second one covers financial assistance and resources from 11 a.m.-noon. Click here to register.