The Democrat-controlled House has voted once again to approve the HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act, a Democratic bill that would provide additional COVID-19 relief money to, among others, broadcast stations.
But, like the failed HEROES Act 1.0 back in May, the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate in the current form, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled late Thursday (Oct. 1).
“NAB applauds House passage of The Heroes Act that would expand eligibility to Payroll Protection Program loans for local media outlets, including radio and television stations," said National Association of Broadcasters President Gordon Smith. "America’s broadcasters and hometown newspapers have been providing comprehensive coverage and critical information during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as they face unprecedented financial hardships that threaten local journalism."
According to NAB, the HEROES Act would "provide television and radio broadcasters, as well as newspapers, the same treatment as hotels and restaurants received under the original CARES Act-–eligibility based on a physical location basis." That means individual stations in a larger group would be considered small businesses eligible for help rather than part of a broadcast group that might be too big to qualify.
The bill would also "require a local station to fit within the SBA size standard for the broadcasting industry," and would "ensure that expanded PPP [paycheck protection program] funds would remain at the local level through additional oversight."
NAB also put in a good word for a standalone bill, the Local News and Emergency Information Act, which would also give stations access to COVID-19-related small businesses loans.
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