VIDEO RELEASE: On Senate Floor, Shaheen Calls For Greater Oversight & Transparency of Small Business Lending Programs, Introduces New LegislationMay 05, 2020
**SHAHEEN: Legislation introduced on Senate floor would “allow Congress to perform our basic oversight responsibilities and foster public confidence in the integrity” of the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program**
Shaheen calls for greater transparency and oversight of the PPP and EIDL programs on the Senate floor
(Washington, DC) – Today on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called for greater transparency and oversight of the Trump administration’s implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) grant program, the small business assistance programs established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In addition to remarks she delivered, Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee who helped lead bipartisan negotiations on these measures to support small businesses, unveiled new legislation with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), the Transparency and Oversight of COVID-19 Small Business Recover Assistance Act, that would provide this additional, much-needed transparency and oversight. The Senators sought to pass this legislation through the Senate through unanimous consent, but were blocked by Senate Republicans.
Shaheen’s remarks can be viewed here.
During her remarks, Shaheen noted the importance of small businesses to New Hampshire’s economy and highlighted the Trump administration’s flawed implementation of the programs. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of this economy nationally, really, and certainly in New Hampshire, where 99% of our businesses are considered small business. They employ over 50% of the New Hampshire workforce. In New Hampshire, 20,000 small businesses and nonprofits have received over $2.5 billion in low-interest, forgivable loans under the paycheck protection program, but there have been challenges. We have heard some of those stories from small businesses that weren't able to access this assistance because some larger businesses got into the queue ahead of them. Some of those large publicly traded companies who had a relationship with their lender and so they were able to get in early. We need information if we are going to correct the things that haven't been working about this program.”
Shaheen then expounded on her new legislation with Senators Cardin and Schumer, the Transparency and Oversight of COVID-19 Small Business Recover Assistance Act, that would provide transparency and oversight on these programs. “All it would do is require the Small Business Administration to provide daily reporting on PPP and EIDL loans, to provide more detailed weekly reports on these programs, and to make this information publicly available while at the same time protecting borrower and participant privacy…. The bill would also ensure that PPP and EIDL funds are reaching underserved and underbanked borrowers. It would establish an early warning system for the SBA and for Congress so we could figure out how to respond to things that weren't working and when we're expecting an additional funding shortfall.”
Shaheen concluded, “These proposals shouldn't be controversial. These are all things that I’ve heard people on both sides of the aisle talking about supporting. What they will do is allow congress to perform our basic oversight responsibilities and foster public confidence in the integrity of these programs. Perhaps most importantly, these improvements will help make sure that the limited resources that are available are getting to the small businesses that need them the most.”
In addition to the legislation she introduced today, Shaheen continues to call for oversight hearings on the implementation of small business relief programs in the CARES Act and accountability for the Trump administration’s implementation problems, particularly relief that has been prioritized for corporations and well-connected businesses. Shaheen has called for changes to the PPP program to better help New Hampshire’s small businesses, including extending key deadlines, and is urging that these fixes be included in future COVID-19 response legislation.
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