Washington, D.C.— Today, House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) released the following update on federal efforts to aid small businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak:
“As our nation bands together to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, no employer or worker should be asked to put profit over the health and safety of Americans. As we have seen across the country, the uncertainty sparked by coronavirus has drastically reduced consumer spending, directly hurting small businesses and upending global supply chains. In response, it will take the full force of the federal government to combat the spread of the virus and breathe life back into the economy. In the days and weeks to come, the federal government must take all appropriate measures to keep Americans safe and stabilize our economy.
“In Congress’ first major relief bill, we passed funding so that America’s small businesses could access SBA economic injury disaster loans. Since the bill became law, I have been in close contact with the SBA on working to streamline the process across the local and state levels so that our small businesses can unlock these low-interest loans as quickly as possible.
“Currently, I am in the process of negotiating new measures for the third federal relief bill that will focus on stimulating the economy and helping American workers recover. We understand this is a time that the federal government must be innovative and we have not taken any option off the table including the possibilities of; loan payment waivers, zero-interest loans, grants, SBA direct loans, and the creation of a treasury fund to put cash in the pockets of small businesses without delay.
“While the pandemic has taken an emotional and social toll on American society, the government has a responsibility to ensure employers and workers have the peace of mind that this emergency will not sink them into economic turmoil. That is why the federal government must also work to suspend payments such as student loans, rent, and utilities.
“During this trying time for our nation, we must not lose sight of our history of resilience, determination, and innovation. As Americans look to their elected officials for leadership, we have a moral imperative to rise to the occasion by providing a robust federal response and meeting the needs of our fellow citizens.”
Velázquez has secured funding to allow the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make an estimated $7 billion in low-cost loans to small businesses hurt by the pandemic. For FAQs on the state of the loan program, click here.
The Chairwoman also introduced legislation to create a new SBA program to supply direct loans to small businesses impacted by the outbreak. On March 10th, the Committee held a hearing on the pandemic’s consequences for the small business sector. The Committee will continue to release updates during this fast-moving situation.