Today, a House version of the “Local News and Emergency Information Act of 2020” was introduced by Chairman David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ranking Member F. James Sensenbrenner (WI-05) that offers legislative text around a Small Business Administration (SBA) affiliation waiver that would allow more news publishers to apply for SBA loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
This bill is identical to the bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate on Wednesday, the Local News and Emergency Information Act of 2020, by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Boozman (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Both bills include an affiliation waiver that would allow news publishers to apply for PPP loans as individual, independent entities, despite ownership by companies with other small news publishers or non-news businesses, allowing more publishers to qualify for the vital loans. The bills includes language that would restrict these funds to be used by the parent-owner of the newspaper-borrower.
The Alliance is extremely grateful to Chairman Cicilline and Ranking Member Sensenbrenner for their enduring support of high-quality, local journalism, and for their leadership in gathering bipartisan support for an SBA affiliation waiver for news publishers. These SBA loans, which will allow news publishers to continue bringing critical news and information to their local communities, are more critical than ever, as news publishers face extreme challenges from the coronavirus pandemic.