Senate votes to expand small business aid

Washington — The Senate passed new coronavirus relief legislation April 21 calling for much-needed funding for depleted federal loan programs that could help businesses nationwide, including dentists and dental practices, recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The bill is expected to inject $370 billion into the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans grants. The House will take up the bill later this week.

The bill includes more than $250 billion in unrestricted funds for the Paycheck Protection Program. There would also be an additional $60 billion set aside for smaller institutions with $30 million earmarked for lenders with assets valued at less than $10 billion, and $30 billion for lenders with assets between $10-50 billion.

For the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, the bill designates an additional $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and an additional $10 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance grants. There is also an additional $100 billion allocated for hospitals ($75 billion) and COVID-19 testing ($25 billion).

The ADA continues to federally advocate to help dental practice owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and has encouraged dental owners to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

The Association previously wrote to leaders in the House and Senate and urged the lawmakers to increase funding and flexibility for the Small Business Administration loans established or modified by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

“We believe the [Paycheck Protection Program] and [Economic Injury Disaster Loans] being administered through the Small Business Administration are going to be vital in keeping dentists across the country from closing their practices,” wrote ADA President Chad P. Gehani and Executive Director Kathleen T. O’Loughlin in that April 10 letter.

The Organized Dentistry Coalition and state dental associations and societies followed up with a similar request on April 17 asking for additional funding and flexibility for these programs.

The ADA continues to review COVID-19 related legislative proposals to include provisions that will be beneficial to dentists, their practices and their patients.

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