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COVID-19 Stimulus Initiative Hearings Held

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June 12, 2020—The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship held a hearing on the implementation of Title I of the Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to a press release.

According to the release, U.S. Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified on the roll out and implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program. They also focused on the economic outlook since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his opening statement, Mnuchin said the PPP is supporting the employment of approximately 50 million workers and more than 75 percent of the small business payroll in all 50 states. Additionally, Carranza said the SBA programs have provided 4.5 million loans for over $510 billion in financial relief to small businesses.

On May 9, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) sent a letter to Carranza outlining concerns with the implementation of the EIDL program, specifically the SBA’s decision to limit the EIDL cap to $150,000, delay in the disbursement of funds, and a lack of transparency and communication.

At the same time, the U.S. House Committee on Small Business also held a hearing discussing the EIDL. The hearing was in response to growing concern regarding the SBA’s implementation of the EIDL Program, which would, under the CARES Act, allow small businesses to borrow up to $2 million to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic.

Prior to the hearing, members of the U.S. House Small Business Committee also sent a letter to Carranza expressing similar concerns as the Senator letter. The House letter addressed that the SBA has failed to institute a process for borrowers who have not yet received funds, to monitor their application, unresponsive SBA hotlines, disbursing inconsistent information, closure of the application portal, and a lack of transparency.

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