HFA urgently pushes for RESTART Act
The Home Furnishings Association in May has become a key, early supporter of the RESTART law. Now, maybe just in time, the proposal is gaining momentum.
The Majority of small businesses, a national advocacy organization and other business groups have joined in the initiative to include this new loan program in the next congressional stimulus package. The House and Senate versions of the bill are garnering more co-sponsors from both sides every day – 52 in the Senate and nearly 100 in the House.
HFA has been closely linked to the RESTART law since its creation:
- Senior Senate co-sponsor Senator Todd Young of Indiana joined HFA’s Government Relations Action Team (FREE) for a conference call in May.
- Matt schultz, the leader of HFA’s FREE, outlined the association’s legislative priorities to its member of Congress, Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania.
- Young’s office has notified Representative Jared Golden of Maine of HFA’s interest in the RESTART Act.
- Golden staff have asked HFA to connect the congressman with furniture retailers in his district so he can assess their need for additional borrowing opportunities during the Covid crisis.
- As a result, Kelly and Golden introduced the RESTART law in the House.
A new loan program may be necessary
The law would create a new, longer-term loan program available to businesses of all sizes up to 5,000 employees. It would provide opportunities for loan cancellation based on business losses. Unlike the paycheck protection program, it would not restrict how borrowers could spend the money.
PPP was popular, but it came too early in the crisis for many borrowers to reap the maximum benefits. And now he’s expired. Writing to congressional leaders, the Small Business Majority noted that “another round of PPP would certainly be helpful for many of these companies, but the hardest hit sectors will need much more and sustained support. Although our country is in the process of reopening, this is hardly a return to normalcy, and many businesses may have to close again. Most small businesses don’t have enough cash in the bank to deal with several months of declining revenue and customer traffic. To survive until a vaccine is widely available, millions of small businesses will need longer-term support from the federal government. “
Many furniture retailers are doing well now as there is a strong customer demand for products that enhance their living and working spaces at home. In addition, furniture stores can operate safely and should not have to close their doors again.
But, the future is uncertain. Further spread of the virus, or new peaks in the fall and winter, could lower consumer spending. Firms may need additional opportunities to borrow on favorable terms to maintain their viability. For months, HFA has viewed the RESTART Act as the right tool to provide lasting safety to furniture retailers and other businesses.
Other groups see the potential of RESTART Act
The majority of small businesses agree.
“At this time of crisis, we urge you to transcend partisanship and strike a meaningful agreement on an assistance program to help our struggling small businesses and, in turn, tens of millions of Americans,” a- he wrote to the leaders of Congress. “We believe that assistance should respect the following principles:
- Loans guaranteed by the federal government, on favorable terms, which will allow small businesses to transform and sustain themselves until 2020 and until 2021. The support must last longer than the next two or three months.
- Businesses should have flexibility in how loan funds are used.
- The hardest hit businesses should be eligible for at least partial loan forgiveness. Any forgiveness should be limited to small and medium-sized businesses that have experienced significant revenue declines and are not publicly traded.
- Help must be delivered quickly. Building on the existing PPP infrastructure would be a way to quickly set up a new lending program.
- These funds should go to all small businesses in need, especially those run by people of color, which traditionally have had less access to capital. Part of the funds should also be devoted to strengthening community development finance institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs).
“Strong bipartisan support for the RESTART Act from Senator Michael Bennet and Senator Todd Young – which embodies all of these principles – demonstrates the recognition of the need for this type of sustained support. We believe that something resembling the RESTART law needs to be included in this next package, ”the letter said.
Congress urgently needs to act
“This is not a bottomless call for donations,” he added. “This is a watershed moment to show how capitalism can benefit all Americans, especially entrepreneurs who have been forced to shut down or reduce the capacity of their businesses without them being responsible.
“We cannot stress enough the urgency to act. Every day that goes by without a full recovery program makes it harder to recover. By Labor Day, we anticipate a wave of permanent closures if the right steps are not taken quickly. Tens of millions of Americans have already lost their jobs in this pandemic. Allowing small businesses to go bankrupt will turn temporary job losses into permanent jobs. By the end of the year, the domino effect of job losses – as well as lost services and products provided by small businesses – could be catastrophic.
“Republicans and Democrats already agree that small businesses are essential to the fabric of our communities and our economy. It’s time to put this belief into action. We urge Congress to support these principles when drafting the next set of COVID-19 relief laws. “
Urge your representatives to support RESTART Act
“I am grateful that these prominent business leaders are sounding the alarm bells that our country’s small business community needs a long-term loan program like our RESTART Take action to relieve American job creators and innovators, and millions of hard-working employees, ”Senator Young said in a Press release. “We are in the midst of one of the worst economic crises this country has ever known, and it is time for Congress to act responsibly and meaningfully by adopting our RESTART Take action. “
“Prominent business leaders are supporting the RESTART Take action, because they know this is what the hardest hit Main Street businesses across the country need to stay afloat through the end of the year and into the next year, ”added Senator Bennet of Colorado.
If you are not a member of the Home Furnishings Association, consider join and add your voice to ours as we engage with our government on actions that will help your business succeed.