Daines’ Bipartisan Bill for Greater PPP Flexibility to Support Montana Small Businesses, Workers Heads to President’s Desk

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today secured Senate passage of his bipartisan bill giving greater flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to support and provide more relief for Montana’s small businesses and workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The bipartisan bill now heads to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. 

“I’m glad to have secured passage of my bipartisan bill to increase flexibility in the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure Montana small businesses have the relief they need to stay open, support our workers and protect jobs,” Daines said. “My bipartisan proposal is the result of listening to feedback from Montanans on what flexibility they need under PPP to make it even more effective. I look forward to getting flexibility for Montana small businesses and workers using PPP signed into law.”

Click HERE for an audio statement from the Senator.

Daines bipartisan bill:

  • Extends the 8-week “covered period” for forgiveness to 24 weeks.
    • This is critical for small businesses that applied for their PPP loan and received it before they were able to open their doors. This helps small businesses help workers stay employed, otherwise employees may be furloughed or without a job at the end of the eight weeks. Businesses that received a loan before passage of this bill can keep their 8-week period.
  • Require at least 60% of forgiven loan amounts to come from payroll expenses (down from 75%)
    • Many borrowers were at risk of not being able to meet this requirement, and considered returning their loans and shutting their doors. This will provide flexibility to employers.
  • Moves rehiring safe harbor from June 30th to December 31st
    • Currently, under PPP, a small business has to hire their employees back by June 30th. Due to enhanced unemployment insurance under the CARES Act, some small businesses are having trouble rehiring workers. Without greater flexibility, some small businesses may be forced to close their doors if they are unable to rehire workers. Therefore, increasing flexibility helps keep the doors open and give workers a place to go back to work. It also helps give Montanans on unemployment insurance more incentives to get back to work.
  • Allows Full 2020 Payroll Tax Deferral
    • The CARES Act did not allow PPP borrowers to defer payroll taxes after the date their loan was forgiven. This changes that requirement to allow employers who take PPP loans to still defer employer-side payroll taxes through 2020.
  • Establish a minimum loan maturity period of five years, instead of the current two-year loan term.
    • This requirement will provide borrowers more flexibility in paying back non-forgiven amounts. This only applies for loans issued after the bill is signed into law, but borrowers and lenders could mutually agree to extend current loans.

Daines introduced his bipartisan bill with Senator Angus King (Maine). Reps. Dean Phillips (Minn.) and Chip Roy (Texas) introduced it in the House. 

Statements of Support: 

“Fairmont Hot Springs is grateful for Senator Daines efforts to extend the PPP program. For April and most of May state orders prevented Fairmont Hot Springs from returning the majority of our staff to work. By the time public health officials allowed our business to reopen we had already used up 5-weeks of the PPP. This extension gives businesses in the hospitality and lodging industry the flexibility to use PPP funds as they were intended rather than having to turn around and immediately repay the funds.” – Steve Leubeck, Owner of Fairmont Hot Springs

“I want to thank the bipartisan effort of Montana’s Congressional delegation in the House and now the Senate in revising CARES PPP to extend use from 8 weeks to 24 weeks and to add flexibility in how it can be applied.  Thank you to Senator Daines, Senator Tester, and Congressman Gianforte.” – Lance Trebesch, TicketPrinting.com headquartered in Harlowtown, MT

“The PPP program provided critical support to Montana’s employers and employees impacted by the COVID crisis.  These common-sense revisions to the PPP program will allow Montana businesses flexibility to effectively use the PPP funds in ways that meets the unique needs of each business and its employees.” – Bill Bickle, Chief Credit Officer for Stockman Bank

“When Congress passed Paycheck Protection, I was concerned about how the 8-week forgiveness period would work for restaurants like mine who were shutdown or operating at reduced capacity. Paying employees when businesses are closed and there is no work to be done just doesn’t make sense. That’s why I’m grateful for Senator Daines’ efforts to extend the program to 24-weeks. Senator Daines’ bill will give main street businesses the breathing room they need to rehire employees and bring customers in the door before this important funding expires.” – Kathy Fletcher,  owner of  The Cannery Lounge and Burger Bob’s in downtown Bozeman for 37 years.   

“On behalf of the restaurant industry in Montana, we applaud the Senate’s quick action in taking up the PPP reforms that the House of Representatives passed last week.  We appreciate Sen. Daines leadership efforts in addressing the restaurant industry’s unique needs to fix the shortcomings in the PPP program.  He understands that restaurants are the cornerstone of our communities.” – Brad Anderson, Owner of Buffalo Wild Wings in Billings

“The PPP extensions measures passed through the Senate under Senator Daines leadership was crucial for the viability of the program for our recreation businesses. Given the uncertainty of opening and series of delays, it appeared we were not going to be able to qualify for the benefits provided by the PPP.  This legislation essentially ensures our company will benefit from the intentions of the PPP program.” – Pat Tabor, Owner Swan Group of Companies