(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and a group of Senators in urging U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabel Guzman to extend the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) repayment deferment period for small businesses in New Hampshire and across the nation.
SBA EIDLs are low-interest loans available to eligible small businesses. EIDLs provide eligible small businesses a loan up to $2 million, with a repayment term of up to 30 years. The loans can be used to pay for expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses. COVID-19-related EIDLs have an interest rate of 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits and initially had an automatic one-year deferment on repayment, but on March 16, 2021, the SBA announced that they would extend the deferment period for a second year.
“While there are many hopeful signs that the economy is improving, most small businesses are not yet in a position to benefit from the recovery due to their smaller profit margins, more limited inventories, lack of access to capital, and struggles to compete with larger corporate competitors for employees and supplies, particularly as we work to address supply chain delays,” wrote the lawmakers.
“The enterprises that turned to the Small Business Administration (SBA) during the pandemic include some of the most vulnerable businesses in our nation. Granting them additional time before having to pay back their loans would not only provide much-needed relief during this period of continued uncertainty, increased costs, and supply chain challenges, but also put them in a much better position to thrive once the economy is fully recovered,” continued the lawmakers.
“When Congress funded the COVID EIDL program in 2020, it did so to ensure that small businesses would have access to the capital they needed to weather this pandemic and to ultimately come out of it stronger. After two turbulent years, we know the end is in sight, but small enterprises still need help. Congress has given you the authority to provide relief, and we ask that you recognize the continued uncertainty and struggles small businesses face today and use it now,” the lawmakers concluded.
You can read the full letter here.
Shaheen worked to provide small businesses with the resources they need to weather and recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She helped lead negotiations on provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law in 2020 to assist small businesses, which established the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. More than 41,000 New Hampshire small businesses and non-profits received over $3.7 billion in PPP assistance. In the COVID-19 relief signed into law in December 2020, she helped secure $20 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) emergency grant program and $3.5 billion to extend the Debt Relief Program established under the CARES Act, which covers payment of principal, interest and fees on all pre-existing and new Small Business Administration (SBA)-backed loans.
Hassan is working across the aisle to ensure that small businesses have the support that they need, and recently led her colleagues in introducing the bipartisan Employee Retention Tax Credit Reinstatement Act to reinstate critical tax relief for businesses in New Hampshire and across the country. She also successfully worked with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) to include bipartisan legislation in the funding bill that passed into law in 2020 to allow eligible small employers to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit. Additionally, thanks to efforts by Senator Hassan, the American Rescue Plan provided payroll assistance through the Employee Retention Tax Credit to new small businesses started during the pandemic, which at the time could not access this tax relief. The American Rescue Plan also expanded the Employee Retention Tax Credit in order to further support businesses hardest hit by the pandemic following bipartisan calls led by Senator Hassan.