March 18, 2020

Wyden Introduces $17B Bill to Relieve Small Business Loan Payments for 6 Months

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) today joined U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), to introduce legislation that would be a lifeline for a wide range of Oregon small businesses fighting for their survival during the COVID19 public health crisis.

The Small Business Debt Relief Act would ensure every small business with a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) would be relieved of their loan payments—including principal, interest, and fees—for the next six months. Wyden, Coons, Cardin and their colleagues are working to include this bill in the third legislative package currently being drafted to respond to the coronavirus.

“Oregon is a small business state, and it’s the small businesses that drive our economy,” Wyden said. “In the face of COVID19, I am extremely concerned about small businesses – and their employees -- who are already feeling the devastating consequences of this pandemic. Providing debt relief will help ease that burden, but we can’t stop there. Small businesses deserve federal support, and I’m going to do all I can to help them in this difficult time.”

The Small Business Debt Relief Act would assist borrowers in three major SBA lending programs:

  • The 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program consists of $95 billion of outstanding loans. The two industries with the largest share of that volume are restaurants and hotels, which are among the hardest-hit by COVID-19. Child care centers, dental practices, and medical practices also rely heavily on the program.
  • The 504 Certified Development Company loan guarantee program provides long-term fixed rate financing for major fixed assets, such as land, buildings, equipment, and machinery and microloan programs. The total of outstanding 504 loans is $26 billion.
  • The Microloan program provides loans of up to $50,000 to small businesses and nonprofit child care centers, via nonprofit intermediary lenders. The total of outstanding microloans is more than $560 million.

In addition to Wyden, Coons and Cardin, original cosponsors of the legislation include U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.