Gottheimer, Davis Lead Bipartisan Group in Calling for Support for Gig Workers, Expanded Unemployment Insurance, Boosting Small Biz Loans, Extending Paid Leave Credit to Mid-Sized Businesses

Mar 18, 2020
Press

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, U.S. Representatives Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) and Rodney Davis (IL-13) led a bipartisan group of 14 Members of Congress to take a stand to support small businesses, gig workers, independent contractors, and freelance workers in direct response to the impact that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the American economy, local communities, and families. 

The Members are calling on Senate leadership, as they explore further economic stimulus legislation, to consider extending Unemployment Insurance for gig and freelance workers, raising the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) maximum loan amount, allowing the SBA to provide direct loans, and extending the payroll tax credit to businesses beyond the 500-employee limit. 

“We request immediate action to provide further support for small businesses, their employees, and workers who may not be traditionally covered by unemployment insurance. This request is in direct response to the impact that the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on our local communities and the small businesses, workers and families who have been adversely impacted by loss of businesses, closures and illness,” wrote the Members in a letter to Senate leadership. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that millions of Americans work as freelance employees, independent contractors, or participate in the gig economy. Many of these workers are not covered by traditional unemployment insurance and work in industries negatively impacted by the coronavirus. 

The Members are calling for:

  • Protecting gig workers negatively impacted by these adverse economic conditions — by expanding supplemental unemployment assistance to freelance, contract, gig, or other workers who are otherwise ineligible for unemployment benefits under current Federal or state law.
  • Boosting SBA loans for small businesses to remain operational and to pay their employees — by bolstering the Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan guaranty program, either by raising the maximum loan guaranty percentage to a minimum of 90%, from the current 75% for loans greater than $150,000, and to raise the maximum loan amount to $7.5 million, from the current $5 million. This would immediately allow small businesses to have access to funds and provide greater certainty for lenders that participate in the program.
  • Improving flow of funds to small businesses in need — by supporting solutions that provide direct and immediate access to loans through the SBA, to relieve the burden on private-sector financial institutions in the face of higher demand, as well as considering additional allocation of resources to allow the SBA to safely, quickly and effectively process these loans to the businesses that need them most. 
  • Improving access to paid leave tax credits for mid-sized businesses — by extending the credit to businesses with more than 500 employees. This will increase certainty surrounding paid leave and allow more individuals and businesses to utilize the House-passed paid leave tax credits, regardless of their size or organizational structure.

Joining Gottheimer and Davis on the letter are U.S. Representatives Mike Bost (IL-12), Rick Crawford (AR-1), Joe Cunningham (SC-1), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Kevin Hern (OK-1), Trent Kelly (MS-1), Pete King (NY-2), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Max Rose (NY-11), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Fred Upton (MI-6), and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-2).

A copy of the letter is available HERE, the text of which is provided below.

March 18, 2020

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

322 Hart Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles Schumer

Minority Leader

322 Hart Senate Office Building

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer,

As you consider H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, we request immediate action to provide further support for small businesses, their employees, and workers who may not be traditionally covered by unemployment insurance. This request is in direct response to the impact that the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on our local communities and the small businesses, workers and families who have been adversely impacted by the loss of businesses, closures and illness

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that millions of Americans work as freelance employees, independent contractors, or participate in the gig economy. Many of these workers are not covered by traditional unemployment insurance. We urge you to include in any economic stimulus legislation the expansion of supplemental unemployment assistance to workers who have been negatively impacted by these adverse economic conditions. This assistance must be payable to freelance, contract, gig, or other workers who are otherwise ineligible for unemployment benefits under current Federal or state law.

Additionally, we recognize that it is vital for small businesses to have available cash flows to remain operational and to pay their employees. We request that you consider changes to bolster the Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loan guaranty program. This could be done by raising the maximum loan guaranty percentage to a minimum of 90%, from the current 75% for loans greater than $150,000, and to raise the maximum loan amount to $7.5 million, from the current $5 million. Doing so would immediately allow small businesses to have access to funds and provide greater certainty for lenders that participate in the program.

In an effort to streamline the flow of funds to businesses in need, we support solutions that provide direct and immediate access to loans through the SBA, to relieve the burden on private-sector financial institutions in the face of higher demand. Additionally, we request that you consider an additional allocation of resources to allow the SBA to safely, quickly and effectively process these loans to the businesses that need them most. To ensure this does not threaten the long-term stability of the 7(a) loan program, we recommend that these adjustments have a sunset period of one-year, with eligibility for extension if economic conditions related to the COVID-19 public health emergency might necessitate.

Additionally, to increase certainty surrounding paid leave, we urge you to include language that allows more individuals and businesses to utilize the House-passed paid leave tax credits, regardless of their size or organizational structure. This can be accomplished by extending the credit to businesses with more than 500 employees. Furthermore, when determining the number of employees a business has, greater flexibility should be granted to allow companies to use their IRS Control Group numbers or their individual LLC numbers, whichever produces the most coverage under the paid leave provisions. As you move any bill related to paid leave during this pandemic, we urge you to provide maximum flexibility to ensure that all businesses and individual workers, and their families, have equal and immediate access to assistance. In order to prevent further lasting economic damage, it is now more important than ever that we proactively address this situation in a manner that is fair and consistent to provide maximum support during this time of crisis and uncertainty.

We look forward to working with you further on this important matter and urge you to utilize all tools available to assist our local communities.

Sincerely,

Josh Gottheimer                                                             Rodney Davis

MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                            MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Jefferson Van Drew                                                       Kevin Hern

MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                            MEMBER OF CONGRESS  

Joe Cunningham                                                            Rick Crawford

MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                            MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Fred Upton                                                                      Max Rose

MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                            MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Elise M. Stefanik                                                            Peter T. King

MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                            MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Mike Bost                                                                        Adam Kinzinger

MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                            MEMBER OF CONGRESS

Trent Kelly                                                                      Vicente Gonzalez

MEMBER OF CONGRESS                                            MEMBER OF CONGRESS  

 CC:

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                      The Honorable Kevin McCarthy 

Speaker of the House                                                       Republican Leader

H-232, United States Capitol                                           H-232, United States Capitol

Washington, DC 20515                                                   Washington, DC 20515

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