Norton Says Key Fixes to Paycheck Protection Program Passed by House are Critical for D.C. Small Businesses

May 29, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said a critical, bipartisan bill passed by the House yesterday would deliver much-needed relief for District of Columbia small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, of which Norton is a cosponsor, would addresses urgent issues with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) facing small businesses in D.C. and across the country, which are the businesses struggling the most as a result of the coronavirus.


“Small business owners in D.C. have been contacting my office in desperate need of assistance as the coronavirus crisis continues to take its toll on our city’s economy,” Norton said. “The ongoing crisis requires us to fix the PPP program so the most vulnerable small businesses, especially those owned by women, veterans, and minorities, have the flexibility to get the assistance they urgently need.


“Many small businesses in the District of Columbia and across the country have reported that the current limit in the PPP program allowing only 25 percent of loan proceeds to be used for nonpayroll expenses such as rent to qualify for loan forgiveness prevents them from applying for PPP loans. For many small businesses, such as small independent restaurants, rent or mortgage interest tend to be significantly more than 25 percent of their total monthly expenses. To address this concern, this bill raises that percentage from 25 percent to 40 percent.


“The overwhelming scale of this health and economic crisis demands that we take decisive action to protect the health and safety of our communities and the economic well-being of workers and small businesses.”


The bill would increase flexibility and access to PPP loans by:


  • Allowing loan forgiveness for expenses beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks and extending the rehiring deadline;
  • Increasing the current limitation on nonpayroll expenses (such as rent, utility payments and mortgage interest) for loan forgiveness from 25 to 40 percent;
  • Extending the program from June 30 to December 31;
  • Extending loan terms from two to five years; and
  • Ensuring full access to payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans.