Merkley Again Pushes Trump Administration to Provide Relief for Small Businesses

Merkley Again Pushes Trump Administration to Provide Relief for Small Businesses

Small businesses across Oregon report that they are unable to access emergency grants and loans included in the massive coronavirus relief bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley today pressed the Trump administration to address small businesses’ problems accessing key emergency coronavirus grant and loan programs, which are sowing confusion and anxiety rather than providing relief.  This effort comes days after Merkley pressed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to fix problems plaguing the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza, Merkley said he has heard from small businesses all across Oregon that they are unable to get relief because of the SBA’s program guidance.

“During this unprecedented crisis, I call on you to offer small businesses the maximum relief allowed in the CARES Act including EIDLs up to $2 million, and disbursement within three days of the full $10,000 EEIG advance when a business qualifies for an EIDL of $10,000 or greater,” he wrote. “I also call on you to provide Congress daily updates on the amount of loans that have been approved and disbursed, both nationally and at a state level.

“We are witnessing a troubling lack of transparency from Treasury and SBA, with implementation that runs counter to the intent of the CARES Act,” he continued. “I ask you to clarify your EIDL and EEIG guidance, and promptly inform Congress if additional funds are needed to provide small businesses with the maximum relief provided in the CARES Act.”

Find the full letter below and here.

Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza, 

In follow up to a letter I sent alongside my colleagues last week, I write today to request additional insight into the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) operation of the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and implementation of the EIDL Emergency Advance, also known as the Emergency Economic Injury Grant (EEIG) program established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. I am hearing concerning reports across the state of Oregon, from small business owners unable to get relief, due to SBA’s apparent guidance around this program.

In particular, business owners are being advised of:

(1)    A cap of $1,000 per employee for EEIG, preventing many businesses from receiving the possible $10,000 in advanced relief. This cap is being put in place even when businesses qualify for a larger loan.

(2)    A cap on EIDLs of $25,000, significantly below the promised $2 million.

(3)    Disbursement of EEIG advances beyond the three days mandated in the CARES Act, unknown dates for disbursement of EIDLs, and no mechanism to track the progress of an EIDL application.

During this unprecedented crisis, I call on you to offer small businesses the maximum relief allowed in the CARES Act including EIDLs up to $2 million, and disbursement within three days of the full $10,000 EEIG advance when a business qualifies for an EIDL of $10,000 or greater.

I also call on you to provide Congress daily updates on the amount of loans that have been approved and disbursed, both nationally and at a state level.

We are witnessing a troubling lack of transparency from Treasury and SBA, with implementation that runs counter to the intent of the CARES Act. I ask you to clarify your EIDL and EEIG guidance, and promptly inform Congress if additional funds are needed to provide small businesses with the maximum relief provided in the CARES Act.

I ask you also send my staff any guidance documents the SBA has provided on these matters.

Sincerely,