Congress, White House reach deal with EIDL fix |

Congress, White House reach deal with EIDL fix

-The Hagstrom Report

Congress and the Trump administration have reached a deal on a $484 billion coronavirus package that includes a provision directing the Small Business Administration to allow agricultural businesses to participate in the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The Senate is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. in a pro forma session and is expected to approve the measure by unanimous consent. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., has advised House members that the House may vote on the measure Thursday.

The $484 billion measure includes $310 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, including $60 billion for small lenders and community banks, $30 billion for national coronavirus testing and another $75 billion for hospitals, but not an increase in the benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which the Democrats had said was a priority.

The bill includes an additional $60 billion for the EDIL program as well as the provision allowing agriculture businesses to participate.

“We worked with the Senate Small Business Committee to include language in this agreement to ensure that farmers and ranchers are eligible for the EIDL program, which will provide another tool as they work to overcome economic and health challenges. Our farmers and ranchers are working hard to continue providing our nation with food, fuel and fiber, and this is one way we can help support them during this pandemic,” Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., told The Hagstrom Report in an email.

“We are pleased that Congress is directing the Small Business Administration to allow agricultural businesses to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans,” said Brian Kuehl, director of government and public affairs for KCoe Isom, a national agriculture accounting and consulting firm. “SBA was wrong to have excluded ag in the first place. Farmers are hurting and need access to the $10,000 emergency grants and low-interest loans under this program. We wrote to SBA three weeks ago asking that they change course, and they refused. It’s good that Congress is stepping in to fix this problem.”

The provision means ag businesses can now apply for low-interest loans through EIDL and may also qualify for the $10,000 emergency grants administered by SBA, Kuehl said.

To be eligible, ag businesses will have to show that they have been hurt by the economic downturn caused by coronavirus. The emergency grants are limited to $1,000 per employee up to a max of $10,000. Applications for the program are administered by the Small Business Administration.