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GOP ‘HEALS Act’ Proposal Allows Small-Business Loans to Cover Protective Gear

Plus, Chrissy Teigen has another food show coming to Quibi, and more news to start your day

Marco Rubio and Susan Collins
Senators Marco Rubio and Susan Collins authored a PPP 2.0 proposal as part of the GOP’s HEALS Act.
Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Republican senators propose second round of PPP loans aimed toward smaller struggling businesses

As part of Mitch McConnell’s and Senate Republicans’ new stimulus package legislation, called the “HEALS Act,” Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Susan Collins (R-ME) unveiled yesterday a proposal for a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program, which has so far dispensed more than $500 billion in largely forgivable loans to small businesses (and some not so small).

The bill would provide $190 billion in funds for companies seeking first-time or “Second Draw” PPP loans, with those second-time loans restricted to actually smaller businesses that are not publicly traded, employ no more than 300, and have demonstrably suffered at least a 50 percent reduction in gross revenue. Of the $190 billion, $25 billion would be set aside for firms with 10 or fewer employees.

PPP 2.0 also addresses some of the forgivable loan stipulations that business owners have taken issue with. Borrowers would be able to choose their own 8-week period (until December 31), rather than the previously fixed timeline, to spend the money. And while the 60/40 rule — meaning that 60 percent of the loan must go towards payroll expenses in order to qualify for forgiveness — still applies, the list for forgivable expenses has been expanded to include increased worker protection costs, e.g., masks, plexiglass shields, etc. Notably, however, the bill still wouldn’t allow rent to be included under the “60” part of the 60/40 rule, a change that restaurant industry advocates have been requesting, as rent makes up such a big part of expenses.

Congressional Democrats and Republicans will now have to negotiate over each side’s proposed legislation. In May, the Democrat-led House passed a $3 trillion stimulus package, called the “HEROES Act,” which included hazard pay for essential workers, more grants for small businesses, a greater percentage of PPP funds allocated to businesses with 10 or fewer employees, and similar PPP fixes as the HEALS Act.

And in other news…

  • Faced with a collapse of the French wine market and excess product with nowhere to go, winemakers are sending their wares to be turned into hand sanitizer. [NYT]
  • Hunger due to coronavirus-related supply chain issues have led to the deaths of an additional 10,000 children a month around the world, and the “wasting” malnutrition of more than 550,000. [AP]
  • When it comes to boycotts — say, the boycott of Goya for its CEO’s vocal support of Donald Trump — experts say that consumers’ megaphones may matter more than their wallets. [WaPo]
  • Alabama is restricting alcohol sales after 11 p.m. in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. [Business Insider]
  • Trader Joe’s is the latest grocery store to offer the Impossible Burger, a big move for a retailer that already has its own plant-based “protein patty” and typically sells its third-party products under its own private label. [Business Insider]
  • Food fraud is on the rise. [New Food Magazine]
  • Chrissy Teigen has sold a new food game show — called Eye Candy, based on the Japanese game show format Sokkuri Sweets — to Quibi. [Variety]
  • An Australian pub has banned emus for “bad behavior.” The town’s two local emus were apparently smart enough to discover they could climb up steps to enter buildings, but not clever enough to learn they can duck under the rope barrier that has now been erected to keep them out. [WaPo via AP]

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