Florida lawmakers hope loan program changes will help Tampa Bay’s small businesses

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Congress is trying to make it easier for small businesses to get help during the pandemic. The House voted Thursday to make some changes to a federal loan program to help make the loans more accessible.

“Small business owners need flexibility,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) said Thursday.

That’s what the House voted to give them by approving changes to the “Paycheck Protection Program.” The federal program is designed to help small businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic.

“So they can keep their doors open,” Castor added.

Castor said the move will help business owners in her district in Tampa Bay.

Updates they voted for include:

  • More time to spend the money
  • More flexibility on what it can be used for
  • Fewer restrictions on what is needed for the loan to be forgiven

“It’s gonna be a big deal, it’s gonna help small businesses use that money in the way we really, really intended,” Rep. Ross Spano (R-FL) said.

Spano, who also represents parts of the Tampa Bay area, said he hopes the changes will give small businesses in his district piece of mind.

“In order to be absolutely 100% certain that they’re going to get the help, that they’re going to get the forgiveness on these PPP loans,” he said.

With the Senate on its Memorial Day break, small businesses have to wait to see if the bill can make it to President Donald Trump’s desk.

Castor is calling on Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio to help the PPP flexibility bill to the finish line.

“They can’t wait for the Senate to take another week or two. They need to know now,” Castor said.

Spano is confident the changes will be approved by the Senate – and then President Trump – so small businesses can see the impact immediately.

“So they can go into effect in the next week or so,” Spano added.

The Senate is scheduled to return early next week.

Also on Thursday, the House rejected a measure that would require the Small Business Administration to disclose who received these loans.

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