U.S. Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Battle Ground) and Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor) called on congressional leadership negotiating the next COVID-19 emergency response package to include an additional economic relief program for small businesses that will complement the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Disaster Assistance loan program currently being implemented across the country.
Herrera Beutler and Kilmer sent a letter urging congressional leaders to include a relief program that resembles the solution in the Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act that would provide loans to encourage small businesses to continue paying employees during the COVID-19 crisis, and allow those loans to be forgiven if used to maintain their current payroll.
“While the previous two supplemental funding packages Congress approved would ensure that low-interest Disaster Assistance loans and other financial assistance measures from the Small Business Administration are available, several small business owners have told us that these loans are simply not enough to keep them afloat until this crisis subsides,” wrote Herrera Beutler and Kilmer.
The full text of the letter follows and is available below:
Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy:
We are writing to you as you work on a third coronavirus (COVID-19) supplemental funding package to urgently request a more robust emergency economic relief program for small businesses to complement the Disaster Assistance loan program already being implemented across the country.
The COVID-19 crisis is greatly affecting small businesses in our districts and across the country. Washington has joined other states in compelling Americans to restrict activity and businesses to reduce operations to only essential personnel. As a result, businesses are already feeling the cash-flow problems, seeing declining revenues, losing customers, and laying off employees.
While the previous two supplemental funding packages Congress approved would ensure that low-interest Disaster Assistance loans and other financial assistance measures from the Small Business Administration (SBA) are available, several small business owners have told us that these loans are simply not enough to keep them afloat until this crisis subsides. Many already operate with thin revenue margins and will incur increased costs to get their businesses back up to full capacity. A long-term loan payment could constrain their ability to return to normal operations.
We need a relief program that resembles the one outlined in the Keeping Workers Paid and Employed Act to encourage small businesses affected by COVID-19 to continue paying employees through this crisis. With such a program in place, employers could maintain their payroll with that assistance, and the amount of the loan used for payroll expenses would be forgiven to reward these employers for keeping Americans working.
It is vital that we act quickly to help small businesses endure this crisis, and urgently plead with you to take additional action quickly.