US Rep. Scott Perry Says Congress Should Grant Small Business Protection from Liability

Date: May 28, 2020

The Congressman joined NFIB members on a teleconference


On May 26, NFIB members connected with Congressman Scott Perry to hear the latest from Washington, D.C. and discuss small business issues. This summarizes the content of that meeting:

On Small Business Liability:

Congressman Scott Perry says he supports passing a bill to address the concerns that many small businesses have that they will be vulnerable to lawsuits even if they followed all the recommended health guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a bill, he says, is expected to be introduced in the US Senate.

Rep. Perry explained that he spoke with House and Senate leadership last Thursday who are worried about small business liability. He learned there are already over 100K cases filed against businesses tied to COVID.  Perry’s concern is that to get a legal immunity bill passed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will try to negotiate something in return for the votes to pass it, which – again – may include additional spending or issues unrelated to the pandemic.

NFIB has been advocating for such protection from liability for our members. You can read our thoughts on what that bill should include here. Rep. Perry says all small business owners must contact their US Senators, their US Representatives, and their state Senate and House members about passing such a bill because it can also be done at the state legislature.

On Changing Terms of PPP Loans:

Many small business owners have issues with the requirements of the PPP loans, especially since the shutdowns of businesses in Pennsylvania were never expected to last this long. Congressman Perry favors such legislation. A representative from NFIB’s Federal Government Affairs office explained on the call that a bill that will be considered next week in Washington that would:

  • Change the requirement that 75% of the loan be spent on payroll to 50%
  • Extend the period of forgiveness from 8 weeks for calling employees back to 24 weeks
  • Changing the terms of the loan from 2 years to 5 years.

Questions from NFIB Members:

Several NFIB members on the call said they have had difficulty getting one of the federal loans tied to the coronavirus, or they were approved but are still waiting for the money. Congressman Perry will work to advocate for those constituents directly.

Another caller was concerned about how long Gov. Tom Wolf was keeping businesses closed, worried that it was too long already for many to survive. The Congressman expressed concern about the way Governor Tom Wolf has handled the pandemic, and particularly regarding the economic crisis. He says the Governor has not been accepting of ideas from federal and state lawmakers on ways to save the Pennsylvania economy.

Rep. Perry says while he and other federal elected officials initially had weekly calls with the governor, after a time they were only able to converse with the state Health Secretary, Rachelle Levine. When the federal lawmakers began to seek answers to questions about the economic recovery, Perry says they were told the health officer couldn’t address those, and the calls were discontinued. He says unfortunately, some relationships between members of the congressional delegation and the Governor have become frayed.

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