(Washington, D.C.)—U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Angus King (I-Maine), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) today introduced bipartisan legislation to extend more relief to farmers, ranchers, and sole-proprietors through changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP Flexibility for Farmers, Ranchers, and the Self-Employed Act would make critical changes to PPP loan calculations and allow small businesses to apply for increased benefits retroactively.

“The Biden administration has taken steps to make PPP more useful to farmers, ranchers, and sole proprietors so making the changes retroactive is a matter of basic fairness,” Senator Cardin said. “Congress must pass this bill as quickly as possible so eligible small businesses have time to secure the aid they need before PPP closes on May 31.”

“We have already acknowledged the need for increased flexibility and parity since some businesses who applied for the Paycheck Protection Program early missed out on additional assistance after the Small Business Administration broadened the rules for income,” said Lankford. “This bipartisan package ensures self-employed individuals, farmers, and ranchers can take advantage of PPP changes and receive access to the same level of economic assistance. I look forward to the bill quickly passing the Senate.”

“The PPP has been an enormous success, sustaining millions of small businesses and tens of millions of American jobs,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation would codify recent changes intended to help farmers and sole-proprietors and allow these eligible small businesses to receive these larger forgivable loans retroactively.  Congress should pass this legislation quickly to assist small businesses as soon as possible.”

“Our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and sole proprietors have been an essential part of sustaining our nation during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have not been immune to the economic effects of this crisis,” said Senator King. “Recent changes to the Paycheck Protection Program are delivering much-needed additional relief to these agricultural producers, and it is essential that these benefits are made retroactive for those farmers and ranchers who have already accessed PPP aid. In addition, this legislation includes a vital provision I authored to ensure that the PPP works for seasonal businesses, including those in Maine who’ve been hit hard by this crisis. This legislation promotes fairness and will help economic anchors in communities across the country recover quickly from the pandemic; it is vital that we pass this bill immediately.”

“Our bipartisan legislation will extend more relief and offer flexibility to Wisconsin farmers and sole proprietors so the PPP better serves their needs. It’s important that we continue our work across party lines and pass this legislation now so our hard working farmers and small businesses have the support they need to get past this economic crisis and move forward,” said Senator Baldwin.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has played a vital role in helping American businesses survive economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, many small businesses were hamstrung by rules that did not reflect the reality on the ground,” said Senator Portman. “This bill would ensure that businesses who have experienced a loss, but were excluded from the program previously, can receive the relief they need.”

“It's no secret our nation's farmers and ranchers have faced incredible difficulties through the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, certain farm and ranch partnerships, many of which are small family run business, were left out of changes made to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program in December. This legislation lets farmers categorized as a partnership use gross income rather than net income when applying for COVID relief,” said Senator Marshall. “When it comes to PPP, we must ensure no farmers or ranchers are left behind, and I am pleased to join my colleagues on this important legislation.”

Recent changes to PPP allow sole proprietors to use gross rather than net income when applying for loans—enabling applicants to receive larger loans. The bill would make the changes retroactive to loans that were disbursed before the changes were implemented and allow sole proprietors that already received loans to request a loan recalculation to receive the increased benefit.

The bill would also allow sole proprietor and self-employed farmers and ranchers to use gross income rather than net income when applying for PPP. Under the legislation, sole proprietor and self-employed farmers and ranchers who applied for PPP using the old calculation would be allowed to recalculate to obtain the increased benefit.

The legislation also includes provisions to increase flexibility by amending the revenue loss reduction time period for second draw loans and easing rules for seasonal employers.

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the bill.