Small businesses in Idaho and across the country have taken a heavy hit during this pandemic. Because the government mandated their closure, I believe the government has a responsibility to ensure they are in a position to recover and prosper. Small businesses make up the backbone of this country and represent the American Dream in its truest form -- I am committed to making sure they are in a position to bounce back stronger than ever. 

The CARES Act was recently signed into law by President Trump to provide federal resources for small businesses struggling to retain workers and stay afloat. Below are answers to the top questions my office has received regarding these new provisions. Whether you own a small business or simply enjoy the contribution they make to your community, this information will let you know the resources available to help during this time. 

Please opt-in to my newsletter to stay updated and continue to reach out with additional questions on this, or other topics. This is a difficult time and my team is here to serve Idaho's First District.

Small Business Loans

What type of business loans will be made available to small businesses?

  • To deal with the current cash flow shortage, businesses will be able to obtain loans and loan guarantees through the Small Business Administration, including SBA 7a Loans and Disaster Assistance Loans, to deal with payroll, operating expenses, mortgage/lease, group health plan costs, etc.  

  • Businesses can qualify for loan forgiveness, provided they meet certain conditions.  

  • Businesses should reach out to their bank or credit union to learn more on qualifying, uses of the money, and the conditions for forgiveness.

  • The Small Business Association has additional in-depth resources on these programs. 

  • The House Ways and Means Committee has another resource to explain H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which has also been signed into law.

Will business loans be available to all size businesses?

  • Most business loans and loan guarantees are focused on small businesses which are defined as fewer than 500 full-time employees.

  • If you are a business owner with more than 500 employees please see these frequently updated resources provided by the Treasury Department.

I own a small business, what should I know?

What is the SBA Paycheck Protection Program?

  • The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to help small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) impacted by the pandemic and economic downturn to cover payroll and other expenses.  These small businesses may take out loans up to $10 million, and can cover employees making up to $100,000 per year. 

  • Loans may be forgiven if a firm uses the loan for payroll, interest payments on mortgages, rent, and utilities.  The amount of the loan that can be forgiven will be reduced if the company does not rehire any employees or cuts the pay of employees by at least 25%.

  • To find banks participating in the program, check the SBA website here.

  • The Treasury Department has issued additional guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program. You can find that information, which will be updated daily, here.

What do I need to do to get my PPP loan forgiven?

  • For a PPP loan to be considered for forgiveness, the money must be used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities for the eight-week period of the loan.

  • At least 75% of the money the business requests be forgiven must have gone to cover payroll costs.  Payroll costs are capped at $100,000 per year per employee.  

  • The amount of forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees.  If the employer reduces headcount below an average number of employees the employer calculates, the amount that can be forgiven will be reduced.

  • The amount of forgiveness is based on maintaining salary levels.  If the employer reduces salaries by more than 25% against their baseline compensation level (like an average annual salary level up to $100,000) the amount forgiven will be reduced.

  • Submission for forgiveness is done through the lender.

Is Planned Parenthood eligible for SBA loans and grants?

  • No, Planned Parenthood is not eligible for SBA grants or loans. Originally, the Senate bill contained a clause that excluded nonprofits that received Medicaid (i.e. Planned Parenthood) from participating in the Paycheck Protection Program.  This exclusion clause was ultimately removed from the final bill.   

  • However, the final bill binds nonprofits to the SBA’s affiliation rules. The bill permits nonprofits to participate in SBA’s loan programs, provided they have 500 employees or less. Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit and is subject to the 500 employee cap and the affiliation rule. Therefore, Planned Parenthood and their affiliates are not eligible for SBA grants or loans, as they have more than the allowable 500 employees.

Other Business Types

Do non-profits qualify for any assistance during the downturn?

  • Yes. Certain 501(c)(3), 501(c)(19) and other tax-exempt non-profits can qualify for small business loans, loan guarantees, and grants by the SBA to help them meet payroll, operating expenses, utility costs, mortgage/leasing costs, and debt servicing. Check with your bank to find out what loans availability, qualifications, and conditions.

I am sole proprietorship, do I qualify for assistance?

  • Yes. The SBA loans and loan guarantees can apply to LLCs, S-Corps, and Sole Proprietorship. Check with your bank to see if you qualify.

Are corporations getting a bailout? I think only small businesses should receive help. 

  • No. While the 2008 financial crisis sought to bail out companies who made bad business decisions, the 2020 CARES Act seeks to help companies who are critical to our economy that have been harmed since COVID-19’s outbreak. For example, the government is advising people to avoid flying on the airlines, which has hurt their business.

  • Money going to large corporations are loans, loan guarantees, and credit availability to stabilize the markets and ensure credit and liquidity is available to borrow.

  • Companies receive incentives to keep employees through this period. If a company is forced to lower employment, they lose access to some incentives.

Are businesses that employ more than 500 employees across multiple locations eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program at each individual location? 

  • A business is generally eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program if it is a for-profit business, 501c3, or 501c19 (veterans organization) non-profit with fewer than 500 employees. There are a few exceptions. Businesses in the accommodation and food service industry (assigned a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72) with more than one location, a business could also eligible at the store and location level if the store employs fewer than 500 workers. In other words, each store location could be eligible.

  • If franchisors appear in the SBA’s National Franchise Directory, assistance will extend down to the franchisee at the store or location level. 

Does the bill provide assistance to cruise lines, the owners and operators of small passenger vessels, or port facilities? 

  • In general, the CARES Act provides $454 billion to provide loans, loan guarantees, and other investments to assist eligible businesses. Eligible businesses are U.S. businesses whose losses result from the coronavirus, and U.S.-owned cruise lines, owners and operators of small passenger vessels, and port facilities are expected to qualify.

Does the bill provide any regulatory relief to the trucking industry?

The CARES Act includes language requested by the Department of Transportation (DOT) to clarify state authority to issue special permits for increased truck weight. Under either a “major disaster” or “emergency,” states can issue special permits for heavier trucks to deliver relief supplies. This ensures the validity of state-issued special permits.

Labor Provisions

  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has posted additional Questions and Answers regarding implementation of certain provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The recently updated information from the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division  (on April 7, 2020) begins with Question #60.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has published guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19 here. Contacts for Regional OSHA Offices is available, and OSHA can be reached at 1-800-321-OSHA.

What are the labor provisions related to the Federal Reserve loan facility and how do they apply?

  • There are no mandatory union provisions for the $454 billion in emergency funding. The Secretary has wide authority to establish the best programs needed to support the economy.

What are the union provisions in the bill? 

  • There is a section in the bill instructing the Secretary to “endeavor to seek” to establish a mid-size business lending facility for direct lending as one of several facilities funded with that $454 billion. 

  • Two of the requirements for direct loan recipients under solely the mid-size business lending facility impose union-related restrictions. Those include not abrogating existing Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs), and an agreement that the business will stay neutral in union organizing.

What do they do?

  • The provisions restrict the business from abrogating an existing collective bargaining agreement and agreeing to stay neutral in any labor union formation.

Will businesses have to agree to these restrictions? 

  • The section only requires the Secretary to “endeavor to seek” to establish a direct loan program. The Secretary does not have to establish one. 

  • The bill text only requires a good faith certification by a business that it is meeting the requirements of the union provisions if one is established.

  • There is no enforcement mechanism.

  • It is also important to remember these provisions apply to only one option for how the $454 billion in funding will be distributed.   

  • The bill provides several ways for the Treasury to work with the Fed to get money to businesses outside of the union provisions. 

What flexibility does the Secretary have to waive the provisions?

  • The Secretary has maximum flexibility, discretion, and waiver authority. The point of the emergency lending is to give the Secretary maximum flexibility for helping our most distressed sectors of our economy. 

  • For example, the bill preserves the Secretary’s right to waive certain restrictions for the loan if it’s to “protect the interest of the Federal government.”   

  • The bill only requires a good faith effort for the Treasury Secretary to try to follow the terms and conditions, but it’s not a requirement. 

  • Treasury Secretary may not be able to follow it or might decide to structure midsize business support differently.

Are there other provisions in the bill that impact unions or union activity?

  • Yes. Section 4025 of the bill prevents the government from requiring an air carrier to enter into collective bargaining agreement (CBA) negotiations to get a loan. It does not prevent an air carrier from entering CBA negotiations on its own.

Businesses Developing Medical Countermeasures for COVID-19 Outbreak

What resources are available for businesses that are developing medical countermeasures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, such as vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics?

  • It has been advised to reach out to the BARDA Coronawatch Meeting website, available here. BARDA is particularly interested in products and technologies that have progressed into or beyond non-clinical trials. Submission of materials does not guarantee a meeting or funding from BARDA.

How can businesses sell or donate medical supplies, equipment, or services as part of this response?

  • FEMA launched a new website for companies looking to sell or donate medical supplies, equipment or services as part of the COVID-19 response.

  • Additionally, email FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center at 

How can companies import or produce medical products to help with the response? 

  • Send inquiries to FEMA at Please include as many details as possible about the request (e.g., manufacturer name, address, product, and model number) and contact information for the company, either an agent in the U.S. or the company itself.

More Resources from The U.S. Chamber of Commerce

  • The Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist takes a small business step-by-step through the process of preparing to file for a loan.

  • This interactive map shows how much aid is available under the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses in each state.

  • The Chamber’s web tracker shows how businesses of all sizes are stepping up efforts to combat COVID-19.

  • The U.S. Chamber Foundation is publishing a live blog tracking the contributions from businesses of all sizes and sectors that are helping fight the coronavirus.

During these uncertain times, navigating federal programs can be difficult. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to contact any of our offices below.