Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government and member of the Senate Small Business Committee, today introduced the Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act of 2020. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is an original cosponsor of the bill, which would forgive small business loans made under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
“About 40 percent of small businesses that close down for even one day in the wake of a natural disaster will end up shutting their doors forever. Hurricane Laura has put a lot of Louisiana jobs at risk. I introduced this bill to give job creators a crucial lifeline. Small businesses needed cash flow to survive the coronavirus crisis, and now they need those loans forgiven as they rebuild from savage hurricanes,” said Kennedy.
“As folks across South Alabama begin the work to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sally, I believe Congress should be assisting them in any way we can. That’s why I’m joining Senator Kennedy, from our neighbor Louisiana, to introduce bipartisan legislation that ensures small businesses impacted by Hurricanes Sally and Laura can benefit from loan forgiveness for COVID-19 relief programs. Alabama’s Main Street businesses have struggled already during the pandemic, and Hurricane Sally is yet another devastating hit. This legislation will cut through government red tape and allow forgiveness of business loans received as part of our CARES legislation as they continue to re-open and re-build. It is one way we can help them survive these compounding disasters and continue to serve our communities and create jobs,” said Jones.
Louisiana’s small businesses represent 97% of all employers in the state and employ nearly 1 million Louisianians.
The Disaster Relief for Southeastern Small Businesses Act establishes an easy process for businesses in parishes or counties with major disaster declarations from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Sally to seek forgiveness for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
In order to receive loan forgiveness, impacted businesses must provide their lenders with an attestation form stating that the business used the loans as intended. To prevent fraud and ensure transparency, the Small Business Administration Administrator would have the authority to review and audit forgiven loans.