Menendez Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Automatically Forgive Small Business Loans up to $150,000

Menendez Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Automatically Forgive Small Business Loans up to $150,000

178K NJ small businesses have relied on PPP loans in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today introduced bipartisan legislation to require that all Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) small business loans of $150,000 or less to be automatically forgiven.  According to the Center for Responsible Learning (CRL), over 85% of PPP loans were for amounts of less than $150,000, and on average, these small businesses have 19 or fewer employees. 

“Struggling Small businesses in New Jersey that received PPP loans to stay alive during the pandemic should not face a mountain of paperwork and a complex, time-consuming, costly, bureaucratic process just to find out whether or not they have to pay it back,” said Sen. Menendez.  “We need small businesses to succeed. We need to allow them to focus their limited resources on keeping their business open, hiring and serving their communities. That‘s why I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation to forgive all PPP loans of $150,000 or less. This legislation covers some of our smallest, most vulnerable neighborhood businesses and they deserve the financial help we promised.”

The Paycheck Protection Small Businesses Forgiveness Act would ensure small businesses receive forgiveness for PPP loans of $150,000 or less by filling out a simple, one-page application created by the Small Businesses Administration (SBA).  The application would also allow small businesses to self-certify that they complied with PPP guidelines.

Currently, the application process for loan forgiveness is long, complex, costly, time consuming, often requiring businesses to hire outside experts to complete. This bill would cut the application down to one page and ensure these businesses—especially minority-owned, underserved, sole proprietors and microbusinesses—receive full forgiveness of their loans as quickly as possible. Over 178,000 small businesses in New Jersey have relied on PPP loans in order to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Thom Thillis (R-N.C.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) are also sponsoring the piece of legislation. 

“Senator Menendez’s legislation will be critical in helping New Jersey reopen successfully,” said Tom Bracken, President and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.  “We need our businesses to focus on the priorities of reopening – namely finding adequate capital to operate and taking the steps required to ensure their workplaces are safe and secure.   Removing the worry about the time, paperwork and costs associated with repaying these loans would allow businesses to focus on these critical priorities.  This legislation will be of immense help to all of New Jersey’s business community, especially small businesses, sole proprietorships and minority-owned businesses.  The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce thanks Senator Menendez for heeding our call for help and taking the lead on this issue.”

“NJBIA is fully supportive of the Paycheck Protection Small Business Forgiveness Act as it will help our employers financially in this very challenging time, and also allow them to focus on their operations without the need to hire professional service firms to assist them in seeking their relief,” said Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Associaiton.

“On behalf of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ I applaud Senator Menendez for the introduction of the PPSBFA, as someone on the ground whose organization has helped thousands of businesses I can attest to the fact that these businesses are in crisis,” said Carlos Medina, Chairman of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “These small businesses are the same small businesses that helped dig the USA out of the great recession of 2009.  Help them now so they can continue to fuel the US economy.”

“As Chairwoman of the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce and Owner of CFO Your Way, I see firsthand the struggles small businesses are going through during these unprecedented times - not only to keep their doors open, understand and apply for the available loans and grants, but now the stress of applying for forgiveness of PPP funds that they received,” said Cheryl Mucha, Chairwoman of the North Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “Many of the members of the NJCC and most of our clients received less than $150,000 of funding.  When they saw the forgiveness application, it raised concern and stress levels for these business owners again.  The need to hire someone to help them through the process is just another cost to incur.  Giving automatic forgiveness to those businesses that received $150,000 or less will give the opportunity for these businesses to concentrate on what is most important – getting their doors open and resuming operations. We thank Senator Menendez for introducing this critical piece of legislation and implore his colleagues to swiftly pass this bill that will undoubtedly help North Jersey small businesses.”

“We applaud Senator Menendez for his continued advocacy for small businesses during this economic crisis,” said Jane Asselta, Vice President of Southern NJ Development Council. “Automatic forgiveness of PPP loans for small and micro-sized businesses is a relief to many of our local businesses that may not be back up and running at full capacity as expected.  These business owners are experiencing tremendous financial pressures of reopening timelines, safety enhancements and employee training, and supply chain delays and price increases.  Knowing the PPP loan they were fortunate to qualify for and receive will be forgiven removes the added expense burden necessary in converting the loans to grants. Real relief. We thank Senator Menendez for his leadership and tenacity in giving these business owners an increased chance to survive.”

“The Chamber of Commerce and the Cumberland Development Corporation will definitely support the effort of Senator Menendez to make the Paycheck Protection Program and the forgiveness more streamlined, and easier for smaller businesses,” said Tony Stanzione, Executive Director of the Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Cumberland Development Corporation. “That would help them a lot. Anything we can do to lessen the paperwork burden and the cost to them at this time is critical to their recovery.”

“Our small businesses in Cape May County are fighting for survival.  In many cases, they have just reopened and are operating at a limited capacity,” said Vicki Clark, President of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce. “ The Small Business Forgiveness Act is a crucial piece of legislation that will allow those businesses to skip a burdensome forgiveness application process that would take their much needed attention away from running their business – many of which are only open during this summer season.”



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