Congress Passes the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act

Additional funds directed at small business

Washington, DC –  On Friday, April 24, Congress passed the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, an interim emergency COVID-19 funding package aimed at small businesses. The measure provides an additional:

  • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) –$60 billion would be reserved for community banks and small lenders
  • $60 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) grants
  • $75 billion for hospitals and healthcare providers, and
  • $25 billion for research and development of COVID-19 related testing.

To apply for PPP, click here

This new legislation arrives after the initial round of PPP expended all available funds on April 16. This first round was disastrous for Southeast Asian American small businesses. Need outpaced available funds, banks failed to implement the program adequately from the start, and the federal government’s guidance on the program gave banks discretion over whom to lend. As a result, small business owners, particularly in communities of color and underserved communities, were largely shut out of the initial loan application process.
The new interim emergency measure includes additional funding for vulnerable businesses and sets aside funds specifically for smaller banks that often serve minority businesses. While these new measures should increase small business access to federal assistance during this pandemic, Congress must act with great urgency to provide financial assistance to all US residents, regardless of immigrant status, and significantly expand COVID-19 testing and treatment to uninsured and vulnerable communities, including many SEAAs.
“Like other immigrant, low-income, and minority communities, Southeast Asian Americans are particularly vulnerable to the health and financial impacts of the coronavirus,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC. “We are hopeful that these additional funds can help our small businesses and provide hospitals with the resources necessary to treat our communities. We thank Congress for its work to bolster our country during this time of crisis and uncertainty. However, Congress must do more to respond to the urgent needs of our communities. Our elected officials must ensure that immigrants, regardless of status, have economic and housing relief and health care access, including COVID-19 treatment. We also urge members of Congress to protect everyone from the coronavirus by releasing detained immigrants into supervised release during this pandemic.”
You can view SEARAC’s priorities for a fourth congressional COVID-19 package here.