WASHINGTON, D.C.—June 2, 2020—Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) and Congressman Mike Kelly (PA-16) today introduced the bipartisan Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act, a bill to provide America’s small businesses with the flexible, targeted relief they need to survive a prolonged economic downturn and provide jobs. The RESTART program created by the legislation would target small businesses hardest-hit by the COVID-19 crisis, offering loans for periods up to one year. Those loans would be partially forgivable for a broad array of expenses, including payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utility payments, PPE, and payments to independent contractors.
“Most of the small businesses my team and I have been working with during the COVID-19 crisis have now either exhausted their PPP funds or never applied to the program because it didn’t quite work for them,” said Golden. “Small businesses are still barely hanging on. Congress must confront the fact that our current recession isn’t going to magically disappear and take action. The PPP was successful, but it was an emergency measure. We must address its flaws and learn from it to help more businesses and save more jobs going forward.
“The bipartisan legislation I’m introducing today with Republican Congressman Mike Kelly builds on the PPP to create the RESTART program,” the congressman continued. “RESTART will provide the hardest-hit small businesses with more flexible relief they can use on things like rent, contractor payments, and PPE, and the forgivable loans will last up to a year. Based on the feedback I’ve been receiving directly from Maine small businesses, the RESTART program is the best path forward to keep local firms above water and keep Mainers employed.”
“Building on the success of the PPP program, the RESTART Act will help the hardest hit small businesses and nonprofits keep their doors open and ensure more Americans can get back to work,” said Congressman Kelly. “Providing greater flexibility and longer-term loans will assist more job creators survive this pandemic and resume normal business operations. It’s a win-win for our economy, U.S. small businesses and American workers.”
Golden and Kelly’s RESTART Act has a bipartisan companion bill in the Senate, introduced by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Todd Young (R-IN).
The RESTART Act creates a small business relief program under the Small Business Administration, which would:
- Offer partially forgivable loans to small businesses that had a greater than 25 percent drop in their total income compared to the period before the coronavirus pandemic;
- Set the loan period between six months and one year depending on severity of income losses;
- Allow loan forgiveness for a wider range of expenses, including:
- Payroll costs (not forgivable for businesses with more than 500 employees)
- Mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments
- Interest on existing debts
- Personal protective equipment (PPE);
- For loan amounts that are not forgiven, defer principal payments for up to four years
- Allow applicants for PPP to submit a modified PPP application to apply for RESTART;
- Require publicly traded companies to repay the full loan amount; and
- Report on identities and any loan forgiveness amounts of all recipients of the RESTART loans who have 50 or more employees.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the hotel industry right now, especially here in Maine. One thing that’s certain is that we’ll need cashflow to keep things moving here at the Rangeley Inn. The RESTART Act would help us with many of our most pressing bills and expenses, including payroll. I’m glad Rep. Golden has been listening to businesses who were left behind by the PPP and I support his efforts to help businesses like mine with the RESTART Act.” - Travis, The Rangeley Inn, Rangeley
“As a fishing/sporting camp, we lost 25% of our season right off the top. We were allowed to reopen in June, but after canceling everyone, we had a hard time filling it back in. July and August look like they will be okay months, but one can't live off a 8 week season. We received PPP money but that is now gone and the State of Maine has only pointed us back to federal programs. We’re a 90 year old business that wants to carry on, but we need help. The kind of flexible, long-term relief that’s included in Congressman Golden’s RESTART Act is the kind of support we need. I hope Congress will get to work passing this legislation.” - John, Castle Island Camps, Belgrade
“We feel that the Restart Act is a better fit solution for us and the hundreds of small businesses that comprise the deeply impacted Maine wedding industry versus the PPP. The flexibility that this act provides will benefit those most at risk at this time by allowing use of funds for expenses beyond payroll. This support could not come at a better time as most privately owned wedding venues have lost 70-75% to date of their income for this year due to Covid-19.” - Jessika, French’s Point, Stockton Springs
The RESTART Act is also supported by the National Restaurant Association, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association, the National Independent Venue Association, the PLAY Sports Coalition, the Live Events Coalition, the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, the Sports Events and Tourism Association, the Broadway League, Snowsports Industries America (SIA), the International Franchise Association (IFA), Home Furnishings Association, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Nareit) and the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO).
Read the text of the RESTART Act here.