U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela and Lance Gooden on Monday announced introduction of the Small Business Comeback Act, bipartisan legislation that would create a recovery fund to provide businesses with support to see them through the coronavirus national emergency.
The Comeback Act would complement business assistance provided under the CARES Act, and provide streamlined and tailored federal support for small businesses most impacted by COVID-19. Relief is targeted to help establishments retain and rehire employees, maintain worker benefits, and continue or resume economic activity, Vela and Gooden said in a news release.
The legislation includes strong anti-abuse protections and would prioritize support for businesses that serve low and moderate-income communities and women- and minority-owned businesses, according to the release.
“Small businesses in the 34th District of Texas and across the nation are struggling to keep their doors open,” Vela, D-Brownsville, said. “This bill seeks to fill the gaps of previous legislation by providing immediate relief in the form of flexible grants to establishments in need. As the uncertainty of this public health crisis continues to grow, I remain committed to ensuring businesses in my community and across the nation have access to the resources they need to see them through these difficult times. The Small Business Comeback Act helps accomplish that.”
Gooden, R-Mesquite, said the legislation will improve the framework used in the Paycheck Protection Program by providing freedom and flexibility to businesses that were mandated to close because of the pandemic.
“We wanted to reduce restrictions on how they could use the money. We’re not helping anyone if we cover them in red tape and new regulations just as they’re trying to get back on their feet. With this legislation, we can take a strong step toward seeing our economy through one of the greatest challenges it’s faced in a century,” he said.
Among the more than 150 organizations that endorsed the bill, the International Franchise Association said the legislation will help offset historic business losses.
“It is clear that economic recovery is going to require a long-term and wide-ranging solution. This legislation will help America’s franchise businesses replace historic losses in revenue, staving off what could be massive numbers of small businesses’ bankruptcies and layoffs,” said Matt Haller, IFA senior vice president of government relations and public affairs. “COVID-19 has affected small businesses of all types, and importantly, this bill doesn’t pick winners and losers by business type, sector, or size. American businesses across the board are hurting. This is the bold solution we need to get through to the other side of this crisis. IFA and America’s 733,000 franchise businesses thank Congressmen Vela and Gooden for their leadership.”