Rep. Peters Calls for More Investment in COVID Financial Relief Programs that Prioritize Aid For Smaller Businesses
April 19, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) sent two letters, one to the Treasury and Small Business Administration (SBA) and another to House committee leadership, calling for greater investment and improved execution of the financial relief programs created by the CARES Act. Both letters emphasize the dire need for expedient and robust support for small businesses and non-profit organizations.
“Congress is poised to pass an interim package this week that will provide $360 billion more for the vital aid programs created by the CARES Act last month,” said Rep. Peters. “While this is a step forward, substantive action still comes a week after the appropriated money for many of these programs ran dry, leaving many Americans in a precarious and stressful limbo. Non-profits and small business owners in San Diego and across the country require immediate assistance and we must prioritize assistance to smaller main street businesses that had a more difficult time gaining access to these funds in the first go around.”
Rep. Peters’ letter to Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza outlined requested fixes to improve performance of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The suggested adjustments included increasing the number of PPP lenders to spread out the volume of applications, directing banks to accommodate all interested customers so that practices are more inclusive, expediting Emergency Insurance Disaster Loan advances for small businesses, and providing greater guidance on loan forgiveness.
The second letter, sent to the chairs of the House Small Business, Appropriations, Ways and Means, and Financial Services committees, asked for policy changes to the program including expanding eligibility for larger and different kinds of non-profit organizations during the COVID-19 crisis and for the creation of a separate fund for the smallest businesses which may not have existing banking relationships.
The lawmaker also pushed again for the enactment of automatic stabilizers, which would keep government assistance rolling by tying the funding for COVID-19 relief programs to economic or timing triggers.
“Automatic stabilizers could be applied to the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure continued funding for the program through the duration of the crisis. We should also apply automatic stabilizers to recession-fighting programs like Unemployment Insurance (UI), the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),” Rep. Peters wrote in the letter. “By instituting clear indicators on new aid, Congress will provide predictability and certainty to businesses that rely on federal assistance to keep their businesses afloat, and to individuals who are struggling to make ends meet at this time.”