Shaheen Demands Testimony from Trump Administration Officials on Implementation of Small Business Relief Programs

May 13, 2020

(Washington, DC)—U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship who helped negotiate small business relief programs in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, issued the following statement as Trump administration officials continue to drag their feet on testifying before Congress regarding small business assistance during COVID-19:

“Our nation’s small businesses are experiencing a crisis unseen since the Great Depression. I have been in contact with Trump administration officials to raise implementation problems that are preventing small businesses from accessing relief that they desperately need,” said Shaheen. “Further, these programs were intended to provide help to mom-and-pop businesses that are truly hurting, yet Americans have been appalled to see large corporations receive priority. The small businesses that have accessed the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) also desperately need guidance on loan forgiveness so that they can spend these funds with confidence, as well as additional flexibility on deadlines and how they can use these resources. The Trump administration needs to stop stalling and testify before Congress – the American public deserves answers. There must be accountability and course corrections to help small businesses before it’s too late.”

This statement follows release of a Small Business Administration Inspector General report on Friday that shows the Trump administration didn’t strictly adhere to the guidance in the CARES Act when implementing small business relief programs. Last week, Senator Shaheen hosted calls with small businesses and non-profits that have successfully accessed these programs and those that have been unable to access them. She also called on the Trump administration to provide late guidance to small businesses, that’s mandated by law, regarding PPP loan forgiveness. She joined with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) in calling on the administration to reverse its policy of limiting Economic Disaster Loan Program relief to $150,000 and to reopen the program to non-farm applicants. Shaheen unveiled the Transparency and Oversight of COVID-19 Small Business Recover Assistance Act to provide greater transparency and oversight of the Trump administration’s implementation of the PPP and EIDL grant program. The Senators sought to pass this legislation through the Senate through unanimous consent, but were blocked by Senate Republicans.