(BIVN) – The United States Senate on Wednesday voted unanimously to pass the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which will provide additional flexibility to small businesses.
On May 28, the House voted 417 to 1 to pass the measure. (corrected)
The PPPFA includes important changes for businesses and nonprofits – including those in Hawaiʻi – that have received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), providing them with additional time to use their PPP loans, and more flexibility to use their loans to cover non-payroll costs like rent and utilities.
“Earlier today, I had a Zoom call with Hawaii small business owners who, in normal times, would have been in Washington, DC this week to participate in the 7th annual Hawaii on the Hill,” said Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaiʻi) in a statement. “On the call, and over the past three months, I’ve heard about how essential the PPP program has been for our local business community, and how the changes Congress was considering would provide additional flexibility in a challenging time. While I had hoped Congress could have passed these changes much sooner as businesses are starting to reach the end of the forgiveness period for the first PPP loans, today’s bipartisan effort improves the PPP program and demonstrates what we can accomplish when we work together. I will continue advocating for programs that support small businesses in Hawaii and across the country during this public health and economic crisis.”
Hirono’s office says 23,416 loans have been approved for Hawaiʻi businesses and nonprofits through PPP, totaling $2.4 billion. Nationally, 4.4 million loans have been approved ($510.2 billion).
Senator Hirono also took part in a U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing, where she highlighted – via remote videoconference – the challenges to accessing capital that small businesses face during the coronavirus pandemic. Senator Hirono focused on the important role of Community Development Financial Institutions and other community-based lenders, and the need for Congress and the Administration to do more to support these institutions, especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.