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Beyer to Mnuchin: Small businesses are frustrated

Don BeyerCongressman Don Beyer, D-Va., is urging Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to facilitate swift and successful implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program by providing clear guidance to small businesses and lenders.

A key element of Congress’s third legislative response to the coronavirus, the purpose of the $350 billion loan program is to help small businesses retain and rehire their employees and pay their rent and utilities. However, confusion about the program—especially as it relates to eligibility—has resulted in many small businesses not receiving loans.

“As a Member of Congress and former small-business owner, I have received many calls from small firms and nonprofits, who are in desperate need of PPP funds but express frustration over the slow process, confusing information and roadblocks,” Beyer wrote.

Beyer continued, “There are bigger questions around eligibility. I have heard reports that both 2019 and the last 12 months are in play when determining loan size. Which is correct? Similarly, there is confusion about what constitutes ‘significant economic damage’ from COVID-19. Finally, Treasury’s rules require that 75 percent of loans go to cover payroll costs, but this limits assistance for businesses that have a substantial share of costs tied up in rent and utilities. These are critical issues that need to be addressed and clarified quickly.”

On Thursday, the night before PPP launched, Congressman Beyer and other members of the Virginia Delegation held an urgent conference call with representatives of over a dozen Virginia lending institutions to discuss questions and concerns about the loan program.