(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Democrats, which Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass,) is a member, today released a new relief proposal to help small businesses address public health-related challenges from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.


Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said: “Our nation is facing a grave public health threat that requires us to take unprecedented steps that will have vast consequences for our economy, especially our small businesses. They are already under an unimaginable strain and need support to survive this crisis. Small businesses have narrow margins that make them more reliant on day-to-day cash flow and more vulnerable to long economic disruptions. This proposal aims to provide financial relief for small businesses as quickly as possible by: covering all payments on SBA-backed loans for six months; creating a new grant program for the small businesses hardest hit by this crisis; and offering direct SBA, zero interest, long-term forgivable loans of up to $2.5 million to small businesses that agree to keep their employees during the crisis.


“For many small business owners, how quickly Congress acts may decide if their business survives this crisis or if they close their doors for good. Small Business Committee Democrats are looking forward to working with Chairman Rubio and our Republican colleagues to pass these measures as quickly as possible.”


In addition to Cardin, the Democrats on the committee are Senators Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Cory Booker (N.J.), Chris Coons (Del.), Mazie Hirono (HI), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), and Jacky Rosen (Nev.).  The Democrats’ measure will be introduced this afternoon.


Click here to download a copy of the proposal.