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Congress passes $2 trillion emergency aid package

March 26, 2020
By: Jason Rittenberg

The third package of emergency assistance related to COVID-19 is currently making its way through Congress, having passed the Senate last night and being expected to pass the House tomorrow. The legislation includes additional emergency loans and tax credits for retaining employees, as well as near-term aid for individuals, small businesses, and some of the most affected industries. While relatively little assistance is directly relevant to science- and innovation-related business development, many broader small business provisions can still be of assistance to these companies.

At a high level, the following sections of the third coronavirus relief package are most likely to be relevant to the TBED field:

  • Tax credits of up to $5,000 per worker for businesses meeting certain size and employee retention requirements — note that companies cannot use both the credits and emergency SBA 7(a) loans;
  • SBA is receiving more funding for emergency small business loans — qualifying SBA loans may now include deferral of payment for one year — and 501(c)(3) nonprofits are eligible for these loans (more details on SBA loans);
  • EDA is receiving $1.5 billion for their economic development assistance programs (including project funding, revolving loan funds and technical assistance);
  • USDA has also received funding to provide their business and industry loans on an emergency basis;
  • MEP is receiving $50 million to help expand assistance to manufacturers;
  • NIMBL Manufacturing USA center is receiving $10 million (per a release by Sen. Patrick Leahy);
  • SBA small business development centers (SBDCs) and women’s business centers (WBCs) are receiving $192 million and $48 million, respectively, to expand technical assistance;
  • Higher education will benefit from $14 billion in relief, including $6.2 billion each for institutions and for student aid (per the Chronicle of Higher Education); and,
  • NSF, NIH, DOE's national labs, and other agencies are receiving funds to advance vaccine- and treatment-related R&D and commercialization.

For more detailed descriptions of the emergency legislation, contact SSTI’s Jason Rittenberg (rittenberg@ssti.org) or read the full text.

The third package did not include many proposals introduced on the Hill over the past 10 days that would have authorized investment programs, made SBIR/STTR permanent, or providing funding to a wider array of technical assistance providers. Congress may consider these items as part of further emergency legislation, although the chambers are not expected to advance further packages over the next few weeks.

legislation, eda, sba