HEROES Act Gets House Approval, Unlikely in Senate

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WASHINGTON—The U.S. House of Representatives seems determined to expand the eligibility of Small Business Administration loans to broadcasters and other media outlets, passing the HEROES Act last week.

The HEROES (Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act, among its provisions, would give individual local TV stations, radio stations and newspapers (even if they are part of large broadcast groups) access to loans associated with small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection Program.

“NAB applauds House passage of the HEROES Act that includes expanded access to Payroll Protection Program loans for local media outlets,” said NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith in a statement. “As local radio and TV stations and hometown newspapers struggle with historic advertising losses, it is critically important they have access to resources to support lifesaving journalism that keep families and communities out of harm’s way.”

There are reports (opens in new tab), however, that despite the HEROES Act passage in the House, it is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

Still, there are two separate, bipartisan bills that were announced last week in both the House and Senate that offer the same type of small loan access to broadcasters. No votes have yet taken place on either of those bills.

Broadcasters, as well as many politicians, have been pushing for expansion of small business loans so they can keep operating, as broadcast is viewed as a critical service during the COVID-19 outbreak.