Tester Supports Expanded Paycheck Protection Program Relief & Flexibility for Montana Small Businesses

Legislation comes as senator continues push for flexible relief in addition to PPP for Montana’s hospitality, tourism, and seasonal industries

U.S. Senator Jon Tester today backed legislation expanding flexibility for the Paycheck Protection Program, which has provided relief to 22,124 Montana small businesses hurting from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill passed the Senate unanimously.

“Montana’s main street businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, and I’m hopeful this legislation improving the Paycheck Protection Program will provide more flexibility for these businesses and more clarity for small lenders,” said Tester. “However, our small businesses have expenses other than payroll, rent, and utilities, not covered by PPP. We’ve got to do more to provide flexible support to these folks—particularly in the hospitality, tourism, and seasonal industries—and I will keep holding Washington accountable until we get Montanans the relief they need.”

Today’s legislation will, among other things:

  • Make the minimum term for PPP loans five years, up from the current minimum of one year;
  • Change from eight weeks to 24 weeks the time to use the loan for forgiveness;
  • Set forgiveness thresholds so that 60 percent of the loan must be used for employee payroll and benefits, and up to 40 percent can be used for mortgage interest, rent, or utility payments.

Since the PPP was created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Senator Tester has fought to improve the program so that more Montana main street businesses receive the support they need. Tester successfully secured expansions to the PPP allowing electric co-ops and rural hospitals to qualify for relief, and to expand flexibility for Montana’s seasonal businesses and workers.

Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. After 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding includes $1.25 billion for the state of Montana.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak