WASHINGTON — The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was released late Wednesday night and was unanimously approved by the Senate. This $2.2 trillion piece of bipartisan legislation would deliver critical relief to Americans and small businesses reeling from the impact of COVID-19.
American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear said the bill will provide critical assistance that small and midsize motor carriers need to maintain payrolls, the economy’s supply lines and the movement of essential goods on which all Americans rely.
“At its core, trucking is an industry of small business,” Spear said. “More than 90% of motor carriers in this country have fewer than six trucks, and it is critically important for the health of our nation’s supply chain that small and midsize carriers have accesses to liquidity so they can keep their drivers paid, trucks running, stores restocked and hospitals supplied.”
The bill would provide $377 billion to help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from closing due to economic losses caused by COVID-19. The Paycheck Protection Program would provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100% federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. The bill would expand eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and disperse small dollar loans. It would also require SBA to pay all principal, interest, and fees on all existing SBA loan products for a period of up to six months.
“Americans across the country have renewed focus right now on what it is truckers do every single day: provide the essential goods — food, water, fuel, medicine — that we all rely in our daily lives,” Spear said. “Truckers don’t have the option to telework, and they’re not asking for a handout. But they are asking for liquidity and the necessary bridge to keep their trucks moving as America recovers from this crisis.”