The National Retail Federation welcomed legislation introduced this week that would give small businesses new coronavirus pandemic assistance that could be used to pay expenses such as rent and taxes rather than just employee wages.
“This legislation is an excellent complement to the business assistance provided under the CARES Act,” NRF Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services Leon Buck said. “Congress has provided significant help to retailers trying to survive the coronavirus pandemic but this measure would close some of the gaps and remove much of the red tape that has been a challenge for small businesses.”
The Small Business Comeback Act, introduced on Monday by Representatives Filemon Vela, D-TX., and Lance Gooden, R-Texas, would create a Small Business Recovery Fund intended to supplement the Paycheck Protection Program and other provisions of the CARES Act passed this spring. While 60 percent of PPP money must be spent on wages, the new fund would provide grants that can be used to pay rent, state or local taxes, certain debt obligations and employee benefits such as health care. In addition, the fund would have a simplified online application offering an immediate decision and direct deposit of funds within 15 days. Doing so would address complaints that earlier programs were complicated and often took too long to get a response.
NRF is a member of the America’s Recovery Fund Coalition, which supports the measure. NRF cited the bill in a letter sent to Congress earlier this week spelling out priorities for comprehensive pandemic relief legislation currently being drafted by House and Senate leaders.