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Peters Announces Support for Bipartisan RESTART Act to Support Hardest-Hit Small and Mid-Sized Businesses Impacted by COV-19

Senator Pushing for Legislation to be Part of Next Coronavirus Package

WASHINGTON, DC U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced his support for the bipartisan Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act to support the small and mid-sized businesses most affected by the Coronavirus crisis. Answering the calls of the hardest-hit restaurants, gyms, hotels, retailers, and other businesses, the RESTART Act would provide Michigan businesses with a critical lifeline needed to help keep the lights on until they can completely and safely reopen. The RESTART Act would help businesses that are dealing with dramatic loss of revenue, high overhead and no clear timeframe for fully reopening by creating a loan program to provide funding to jump-start the hardest-hit businesses for the remainder of 2020 and providing loan forgiveness as a backstop against ongoing economic challenges. As a cosponsor of the RESTART Act, Peters is pushing for it to be included in the next phase of Coronavirus relief to help provide a lifeline to the hardest-hit small and medium-sized businesses. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) is also a cosponsor of the bill.

“I have heard from many small and mid-sized businesses in Michigan that are facing significant challenges due to lower revenue because of this pandemic and need assistance to weather the coming months,” said Senator Peters. “The bipartisan RESTART Act would provide federal support, including low interest and long-term working capital loans, to small and mid-sized businesses particularly hard hit by this unprecedented crisis. The next Coronavirus package should include this commonsense legislation that not only would help Michigan businesses in the short-term but over the long-term.”

The RESTART Act includes a new loan program to provide funding to cover 6 months of payroll, benefits, and fixed operating expenses for businesses that have taken a substantial revenue hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. A share of the loan would be forgiven based on the revenue losses suffered by the business in 2020 with the remainder to be repaid over 7 years. No interest payments would be due in the first year, and no principal payments would be due for the first two years. At its core, this program is designed to provide small and medium-sized businesses with liquidity to get their businesses up and running again, and ensure that they receive loan forgiveness to help fill in the gap caused by revenue declines.

Businesses – including most nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and Tribal business concerns – with fewer than 5,000 full-time equivalent employees would be eligible. Businesses with fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees would receive more generous loan forgiveness, and the structure of the program is designed to reach the smallest businesses. Borrowers would be required to self-certify a revenue loss of no less than 25% for any 8-week period between February 15, 2020 and July 31, 2020, relative to a comparable 8-week period in 2019 or between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020.

Peters has led numerous efforts to support Michigan small businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Last month, Peters helped pass legislation that gave small businesses with PPP loans more flexibility in using the forgivable loans they applied for to maintain operations. Peters also led the fight this past April to ensure funding for small community-based lenders, including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) to support minority owned small businesses that was signed into law. Additionally, Peters pressed for funding for small businesses as part of the CARES Act.