May 16, 2020
By: Robert G. Tweel
Late last night the House passed the Heroes Act, H.B. 6800, which tries to expand the scope of the Paycheck Protection Program and does provide some necessary technical corrections. The Act also changes other key provisions and definitions, the reasonableness of which should be debated and cross-checked carefully. However, one change in the Act should be highlighted to ensure it was intentional: in trying to expand the application of the Act draftsmanship has effectively (and most likely accidentally) eliminated nonprofit entities from eligibility for PPP loans. This change, if it were to be left in the Senate version, would create absolute chaos. In short, for the sake of the banking institutions who undertook PPP loans under the terms of the original CARES Act, the hope is that the Heroes Act will be carefully scrutinized prior to passage to prevent mayhem.
Congress, regardless of political party, must be more thoughtful proposing legislation concerning the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES Act (or any other "pandemic relief") rather than racing for political expediency. As the Nation looks to commit an unprecedented amount of funds to stabilize our economy in the midst of the pandemic, the solutions must be carefully crafted and vetted. Bipartisan leadership is called for to protect the health of the economy and our citizens.