The Small Business Administration rose to the forefront of the federal government’s response to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19. Since March 2020, the agency has delivered more than $1.1 trillion in relief funds that supported countless small businesses. The SBA received considerable attention from Congress due to the pandemic’s widespread and adverse impact on small businesses to stimulate economic activity and keep Americans on the payroll. Throughout the duration of the pandemic, Congress and the White House rallied time and time again to pass legislation that appropriated billions of dollars for the SBA’s relief programs.
After nearly two years, the SBA’s pandemic relief programming is slated to lapse as the COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan program expires on December 31. Barring Congressional action, the EIDL will join the Paycheck Protection Program, Restaurant Revitalization Fund, and Shutter Venues Grant as SBA COVID-19 relief options no longer accepting applications. Given the unprecedented volume of funds appropriated to these programs, the SBA will continue to process EIDL applications through the end of the year or until funds run out.
The recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure package, resulted in several billion dollars being reclaimed from the SBA’s EIDL and targeted EIDL programs. AAHOA is evaluating this rescission and will continue to communicate with our partners at the SBA so that AAHOA Members are apprised of the latest information. After passing the IIJA, Congress shifted focus to negotiations over the final phase of President Biden’s economic agenda.
The proposed $1.75 trillion reconciliation spending package is a tax and social spending plan prioritizing clean energy, paid family leave, drug price negotiations, and more. At the time this article was penned, the Congressional Budget Office had yet to release a cost estimate of the legislation, suspending the timeline of the bill’s path forward. In its current state, the SBA would receive funding to maintain some existing programs and create new ones.
As Congress moves forward with discussion over the reconciliation package, AAHOA continues to work at the state and local levels to maximize the utility of funds, grants, and programming that has already been appropriated. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, state and local governments received billions of dollars in aid. AAHOA and its partner state associations are actively negotiating to have as much of this funding as possible directed to hotels and the workers and communities they support. Recently, Prince William County in Virginia utilized ARPA relief to create a $10 million grant program, $4 million of which is directed to the Lift Up Lodging Program. AAHOA welcomes the program in Prince William County and will continue to advocate for sound public policy to bolster the hospitality industry’s recovery.