State governments across the country have been forced to shutter Main Street as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure small businesses have the resources they need to survive this crisis, the federal government has been working on a response to the economic shutdown. Congress approved nearly $350 billion in small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in late March.
That money has run dry, and President Trump is leading the charge to replenish the funds. I support the administration’s goal of helping companies through this difficult time, but many small business owners feel they were overlooked in the first round of funding. The program was designed to help small businesses, but many have yet to receive any assistance. I share their frustrations in the long delays and preferential treatment some companies have received in dealing with the bureaucracy.
Reports have surfaced that several large, publicly-traded companies took advantage of the loan offerings. Companies like Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Potbelly Sandwich Shop operate hundreds of locations and reported hundreds of millions in revenue last year. That didn’t stop them from receiving “small business loans” through the Paycheck Protection Program.
Large companies like these should not have been eligible to receive a small business loan, and Congress must ensure they do not take advantage of any additional dollars allocated for true small businesses. I expect to see this problem addressed before President Trump authorizes the next round of funding.
At a time like this, my seat on the House Financial Services Committee gives our communities a strong voice in Congress. We’re going to investigate exactly how these federal funds were disbursed. Anybody who cheated our small businesses, whether it be large companies or the banks who approved their loans, will have to answer to Congress and the American people when this crisis is behind us.