Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick

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Bipartisan Legislation Seeks to Assist Smallest Businesses in Dealing With COVID-19 Challenges

May 15, 2020
In The News

As the country‘s smallest businesses fight to withstand COVID-19 challengesa bipartisan gang of congressmen seeks to give them particular helpThe Hill reported.

The members of Congressheaded up by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), will announce a bill giving $50 billion to the smallest of the nation’s enterprises, which have struggled to contend with larger companies for crisis assistance through programs run federally.

Congress has provided in excess of $650 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, devised to give loans that can be accessed without difficulty to the enterprises that have been dealt the most difficult hardships. However, the smallest businesses in the nation have had difficulties getting the help as there has been an intense hurry for it.

The new bill looks to fill in those cracksbringing on stricter acceptability instructions aiming for the smallest enterprises — locations such as pubs, salons and coffee shops that “are kind of like the fabric of a community,” Kildee stated, “but don’t ever get to the front of the line no matter how quickly that line is moving.”

“It’s businesses that are outside the traditional banking sector and don’t have traditional banking relationships,” Kildee stated. “What we’re seeing is that the PPP program just doesn’t necessarily get to that cohort of the very small businesses.”

The legislation has garnered backing from both sides of the aisle: Republican Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) both are in support, as is Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.). Similar legislation in the Senate, sponsored by Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), is being prepared.

The difficulties with the PPP were clear soon after the bill containing it, the CARES Act, became law in late March.

Not even two weeks later, the $349 billion in appropriations had essentially vanished, and dissenters spoke out that hundreds of companies that were publicly traded — businesses that could get money in other ways — took millions of dollars that were supposed to aid small businesses. (Facing the outcry, some of those businesses have given the loans back.)

Also, the Small Business Administration, which is directing the PPP, failed to adhere to many orders from Congress in carrying out its immense loan plan that is supposed to preserve businesses over the course of COVID-19. That includes not putting forth direction to make underserved societies a top concern, the SBA’s inspector general reported, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Another COVID-19 relief bill, which became law in late Aprilgave $310 billion more for PPP loans. In a provision of the legislation, Democrats sought to change the program’s instructions to make sure that smaller enterprises can take partespecially those run by racial minorities, veterans, females and other vulnerable groups.