Most members of Congress, regardless of party, agree that small businesses are crucial to American prosperity. This rare consensus was behind the decision to authorize $659 billion worth of forgivable loans through Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program in a bid to limit business failures and layoffs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, the PPP seems to have achieved its short-term goal of keeping small businesses alive. Almost 75 percent of small businesses with employees got a loan by early June and were thus able to keep their workers on the payroll. But the crisis is not yet over, with many businesses still far from healthy. And now Congress seems poised to sneak an amendment that has nothing to do with COVID-19 into legislation on which it will vote this week. By imposing a new burden that could cost each small business thousands of dollars to comply with, Congress may push many over the brink just as they’re starting over.