Jaime Herrera Beutler

As many businesses take advantage of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, last week voted in favor of changes aimed at making it more flexible for employers.

The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

According to Herrera Beutler, the act includes the following provisions:

• It extends the covered loan period from eight to 24 weeks.

• It ensures full access to employer payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans.

• It relaxes the requirement that PPP loans be spent on payroll costs from 75 to 60 percent.

• It provides a “rehiring safe harbor” for businesses to still qualify for loan forgiveness if they are unable to rehire employees due to effects of enhanced unemployment insurance.

• It establishes a “safe harbor” for businesses to qualify for loan forgiveness if they cannot return to full business operations due to state orders and restrictions.

“We want life to return to normal as soon as possible,” Herrera Beutler wrote. “To do so, we need small businesses in Vancouver, Ilwaco, Chehalis and elsewhere to have the tools to meet these challenging circumstances.”

Herrera Beutler is maintaining a COVID-19 resource website at JHB.house.gov/coronavirus.

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