The RESTART (Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty) Act is gaining traction in the U.S. Senate with, now, 36 cosponsors signing on. The bill was introduced by Senators Todd Young and Michael Bennet.
The RESTART Act includes a new loan program to provide funding to cover six months of payroll, benefits and fixed operating expenses for businesses that have taken a substantial revenue hit during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. A share of the loan will be forgiven based on the revenue losses suffered by the business in 2020, with the remainder to be repaid over seven years. In addition, no interest payments are due in the first year and no principal payments are due for the first two years. The program, according to Senators Young and Bennet, is designed to provide small- and medium-sized businesses with liquidity to get their businesses up and running again and ensure that they receive loan forgiveness to help fill in the gap caused by revenue declines.
Eligible businesses would include most nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, self-employed individuals, independent contractors and Tribal business concerns with fewer than 5,000 full-time equivalent employees. Businesses with fewer than 500 full-time equivalent employees will receive more generous loan forgiveness, and the structure of the program is designed to reach the smallest businesses. Borrowers will be required to self-certify a revenue loss of no less than 25 percent for any eight-week period between February 15, 2020 and July 31, 2020, relative to a comparable eight-week period in 2019 or between January 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020.
While the bill is not officially yet part of the next round of coronavirus relief, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) says the growing support from senators (both Democrat and Republican) is a good sign. It also adds that close to 7,000 people contacted their legislators through its grassroots advocacy portal, as well as the cosponsoring senators for their support.