Farm Group President Pleased Ag Included In Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

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But the measure also includes billions to expand coronavirus testing and help keep states and hospitals afloat amid the pandemic.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) on Tuesday welcomed the legislation to increase funding for small business loans as "retailers continue to deal with catastrophic hardships from COVID-19".

Republicans complained Democrats had delayed the original version of bill, which included only money for small businesses. The bill provides an additional $310 billion towards the small business loan program.

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Businesses with fewer than 500 employees can apply for PPP funding, which covers eight weeks of payroll and other expenses, and converts to grants if companies maintain their employees or rehire laid-off workers by June 30, and use three-quarters of the funding on wages.

Some small businesses were left scratching their heads on how major businesses such as the parent company that operates the Ruth's Chris Steak House chain of restaurants managed to qualify for loans.

President Trump, GOP lawmakers and banking industry advocates proposed adding more money to the program with no strings attached to pump out loans as quickly as possible.

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"Forcing SBA to reprogram their processing systems could cause unnecessary delays and confusion for small businesses trying to save millions of jobs".

"These funds are sorely needed by small-business customers in urban, suburban and rural communities", said Rebeca Romero Rainey, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), a trade group for smaller banks. The two-year loans have 1 percent interest and no payments for six months.

The inclusion of funding for testing is a win for congressional Democrats, who had blocked an earlier version of the bill for not including funds for that or for hospitals and states. But battle lines are forming over the next measure amid growing demands to help out state and local governments, the Postal Service and first responders.

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