U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) spent several days traveling around Indiana to discuss reviving the economy after shutdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Everyone is excited about opening up the economy again and getting back to work in a safe manner,” Young said May 29 at Woody’s Library Restaurant in Carmel. “The next step to get our economy open again is going to require some additional tools of assistance from the federal level. That’s where the RESTART Act comes in.”
The RESTART Act, which stands for Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty, is a bipartisan bill Young authored with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) to build on the Paycheck Protection Program.
“The Paycheck Protection Program has been incredibly beneficial to the people of Indiana,” Young said. “In fact, more than 72,500 Hoosier employers have utilized the Paycheck Protection Program with loans totaling roughly $10 billion. To put that in perspective, that’s an average loan of $130,000. This is disproportionally benefiting our smaller hardest-hit businesses.”
However, the PPP requires the funds be spent in eight weeks.
“Over the course of the PPP, we know that many of our businesses, our restaurants, gyms, boutiques and other such businesses weren’t even permitted to be open during that time period,” Young said. “The first part of the RESTART Act responds to that reality and extends the period in which a person can deploy these forgivable loans and have them forgiven from eight weeks to 16 weeks.”
Young said the PPP was designed to be a bridge toward reopening the economy.
“At the time of its passage, we believed the pandemic might be short-lived, something we could figure out how to navigate in fairly short order,” Young said. “That turned out not to be the case and is lingering on. So many small businesses, in particular, are going to need a longer bridge to cross.”
Young’s bill provides loans of up to six months for payroll and fixed costs for businesses and nonprofits that have been especially impacted by COVID-19.
“The amount of forgiveness is based on how hard hit a business has been,” Young said. “If the revenues are way down as so many restaurants are for example as opposed to last year, they receive more forgiveness. There are no artificial parameters on this program, which is why my RESTART Act is so popular among businesspeople as compared to the Paycheck Protection Program. You don’t have to spend any particular portion on payroll as opposed to fixed cost. You don’t have to have a certain number of employees. It’s a very flexible program.”
Young said he has been impressed by Indiana residents, entrepreneurs and community leaders in responding to the pandemic.
“Everyone has done their part and I would say Congress did its part as well, but we are not done yet,” he said. “It’s time for Congress to do more so we can support the American people as they continue to support one another.”
Young said he hopes the bill will be passed in the next two to three weeks.
Woody’s is owned by Carmel City Councilor Kevin “Woody” Rider.
“This is a perfect example of our representative in Washington doing what we asked him to do,” said Rider, adding he reached out to Young a few weeks ago. “This is somebody who is putting aside differences, reaching across the aisle and offering a bill that is going to be immensely helpful to small businesses, especially the restaurant business. We had conversations about how we wouldn’t be able to use it in an eight-week (period) and it wouldn’t be as much of a benefit. This is going to be a life-changer for small businesses.”