On March 19, 2020, the AAO signed on to a letter with other small business associations to Senate leaders in support of relief for small businesses. The proposed relief could come as part of the Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act currently under consideration by the Senate. A copy of that letter can be viewed here.
The letter, addressed to Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Susan Collins, sets out the support of the AAO and other signees for two particular components of the proposed Act that would provide assistance to AAO member practices and other small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. First, the letter expresses support for an emergency loan program for small businesses. Those loans would be offered by private banks, in order to speed time in obtaining the loans, but guaranteed by the federal government in much the same way as federally-guaranteed student loans.
The second component of the proposed Act supported by the letter would provide loan forgiveness for a portion of the loan equal to an appropriate percentage of payroll (with an appropriate salary cap) for any business that keeps their employees on salary despite having to shut down. This loan forgiveness would potentially benefit both employees as well as member practices, by providing relief for practices that keep employees during any shutdown period.
Other signees on the letter in addition to the AAO include the National Association of Realtors, the National Retail Foundation, the International Franchise Association, Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc., and the U.S. Travel Association.
The AAO legal and advocacy team will continue to work with our federal lobbyists to monitor any federal measures to address the impact that COVID-19 is having, or will have, on our members as healthcare professionals and small business owners and, where appropriate, lobby for inclusion of our members in such relief measures.