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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 15, 2020
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Dennis Wharton
202-429-5350
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NAB Statement on House Introduction of Legislation Expanding Eligibility to Local Media Outlets for Paycheck Protection Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the introduction of the Local News and Emergency Information Act, bipartisan House legislation from House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) and Ranking Member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) that would expand eligibility for U.S. Small Business Administration loan access to struggling local newspapers and radio and television stations, the following statement can be attributed to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith:

“NAB thanks Reps. Cicilline and Sensenbrenner for introducing bipartisan legislation that would help local media outlets weather unprecedented advertising losses. Today’s legislation builds on the letter these legislators led last month with bipartisan support of more than 120 of their House colleagues.

"Expanding eligibility for Payroll Protection Program loans for local radio and TV stations and newspapers would support lifeline journalism and fact-based reporting of the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to working with Reps. Cicilline and Sensenbrenner and their counterparts in the Senate on Coronavirus economic relief efforts that strengthen local media and journalism in hometowns across America.”

A companion bill was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Boozman (R-AR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY).

The expansion of PPP for local media would:

  • provide television and radio broadcasters, as well as newspapers, the same treatment as hotels and restaurants received under the original CARES Act PPP – eligibility based on a physical location basis;
  • require a local station to fit within the SBA size standard for the broadcasting industry, or under $41.5 million in revenue annually;
  • ensure that expanded PPP funds would remain at the local level through additional oversight.

Earlier this week, the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives released draft legislation that would expand eligibility for U.S. Small Business Administration loan access to struggling local newspapers and radio and television stations. The legislation is expected to be voted on later today.

On a bipartisan basis, Members of Congress have previously signaled their support for supporting local media outlets during the COVID-19 pandemic through expanded eligibility for small business loans or federal advertising investment.

Reps. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and 124 other Members of the House of Representatives previously sent a bipartisan letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy recommending that more local broadcasters and community newspapers be allowed to qualify for Small Business Administration loans under the Paycheck Protection Program.

Four Senators sent a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership urging support for expanding U.S. Small Business Administration loan access to struggling local newspapers and radio and television stations.

Nineteen Democratic Senators previously signed a letter that requested future coronavirus stimulus relief legislation include support for local journalism.

A bipartisan letter from Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Bill Flores (R-TX), Marc Veasey (D-TX), and Fred Upton (R-MI) and over 240 lawmakers was sent to the Trump Administration urging a portion of federal agency advertising dollars be directed to local news and media outlets.

Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), John Barrasso (R-WY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and more than 70 Senators sent a bipartisan letter to the Office of Management and Budget encouraging federal agencies to increase advertising about current and newly created programs and information on broadcast radio and TV stations and local newspapers.

The chairs of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and Co-Chair of the Native American Caucus sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting the inclusion of federal funding for local and ethnic media outlets in a future coronavirus relief stimulus package.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.