Senators John Hoeven and John Thune today held an online discussion with entrepreneurs and small business founders from North Dakota and South Dakota to outline the assistance provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Further, the senators reviewed their ongoing efforts to ensure the implementation of the law works for small businesses, provides sufficient funding to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and makes sure businesses can quickly restart their normal operations once the outbreak is resolved.
“Whether it’s an independent contractor, startup or well-established small business, the CARES Act includes critical provisions to keep these operations afloat as we respond to COVID-19,” said Hoeven. “Small business is a critical part of our economy, and our efforts are about ensuring they can access the assistance they need, keeping their employees in place and getting our economy going as soon as possible when it’s safe to do so.”
“One of the main goals of the CARES Act was to make sure Main Street small businesses across the country could pay their workers and keep them employed during this health crisis,” said Thune. “Our job now is to make sure we can continue to provide help to struggling businesses and keep the critically important Paycheck Protection Program funded. I’m grateful for today’s opportunity to discuss these issues and get important feedback from the businesses and entrepreneurs who have been affected by this crisis.”
Specifically, the senators highlighted:
- Direct Assistance to Individuals – provides up to $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples and an additional $500 per child. The payments begin phasing out for individuals and couples with incomes of $75,000 and $150,000, respectively.
- The Paycheck Protection Program – enables small businesses and self-employed individuals to maintain payroll through forgivable, federally-guaranteed loans.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation – expands unemployment benefits to those who would otherwise be ineligible, including self-employed individuals and independent contractors.
- The Phase II legislation also provided self-employed individuals with refundable tax credits for family and sick leave, covering those who are required to quarantine or are caring for a child who is sick or whose school or child care facility has closed.
- The Employee Retention Tax Credit – provides employers with a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit for wages paid to employees, including those who are furloughed or facing reduced hours.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Loan Advance – provide loans of up to $2 million as well as a loan advance of up to $10,000 to cover a wide range of expenses. The emergency loan advance would not have to be repaid.