The Cincinnati Enquirer: Opinion: Small businesses get second chance at Paycheck Protection Program
Washington, April 30, 2020
Since COVID-19 first hit our shores, as the ranking member of the House Small Business Committee, I’ve heard from thousands of small businesses from all across the country. Locally, I’ve talked with people who run restaurants, hair salons, and retail shops (just to name a few); dozens of hospitals and health care providers; police, firefighters and other first responders; and state and local government officials.
The message has been consistent. Everyone needs help dealing with the unprecedented challenges presented by the coronavirus.
Four weeks ago, Congress took significant action, passing the largest economic recovery bill in our nation’s history. This critical legislation provided $100 billion to help hospitals and health care providers, $150 billion for state and local governments to deal with virus-related expenses, and $500 billion in loans to help larger businesses forced to shutter their doors due to quarantine orders. The Treasury Department recently began issuing stimulus checks of up to $2,400 (plus $500 per child) to American families, with an estimated 80 million checks delivered in the first week alone.
While these efforts are helping Americans survive this incredibly difficult period, perhaps none have been as successful, or as impactful, as the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing millions of Americans. It’s not an overstatement to say that when small businesses succeed, America succeeds.
But, right now, many small businesses are struggling. Social distancing and other measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have forced small business owners to make gut-wrenching decisions to cut hours, lay off employees and even close up shop after years of operation.
That’s why I’ve worked closely with Democratic Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez, and our counterparts in the Senate, to craft the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program. Loans under this program are 100% federally guaranteed, and will help small business owners continue to meet their financial obligations and pay their employees, while they’re forced temporarily to suspend operations. To help protect millions of jobs, these loans are forgivable if a business employs the same number of people over the eight-week period covered by the loan, and there’s flexibility for businesses to quickly rehire recently laid-off employees.
The results have been incredible. In less than two weeks, $350 billion in loans have been approved under the program, providing assistance to more than 1.6 million small businesses. Here in Ohio, more than $14 billion have been approved for nearly 60,000 small businesses.
Yet despite these impressive statistics, there are more businesses and more American families who need help. I’ve heard from dozens of Cincinnati-area companies that weren’t able to get loans approved before the initial money ran out. One such company is Mattar Services, Inc., a family-owned commercial electric company, which has provided services here for 33 years. Unfortunately, funding for the program ran out as they were preparing their final loan documentation.
That’s why we’ve been working so diligently to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program. By providing more money for this program, we can help companies like Mattar Services remain in business, and continue to pay their employees during these challenging times.
Last week, Congress reached an agreement to provide an additional $310 billion in loans, bringing the total to $660 billion, to help provide American families and small businesses some semblance of financial security. The legislation also provided another $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for testing and $60 billion for economic disaster loans and grants.
So, if you own a small business and you need help, contact your local bank or credit union, and find out how the Paycheck Protection Program can help you maintain your workforce, and continue to make ends meet. But don’t wait, because there’s no telling for sure just how long these additional funds will last.
These are extraordinary times. By taking bold, albeit temporary action today, we can help small businesses survive this crisis, and help American families resume as close to their normal lives as humanly possible.
Congressman Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, represents Ohio’s 1st District in the United States House of Representatives and is the ranking member of the House Committee on Small Business.
Read the op-Ed on Cincinnati.com here: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/2020/04/29/opinion-small-businesses-get-second-chance-paycheck-protection-program/3022001001/