As a former small business owner in Fort Worth, I know firsthand how small businesses are the heartbeat of our Texas economy. As our country and our state work to address the public health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, our state’s nearly two and a half million small businesses—and the almost four and a half million Texans they employ—have had to make hard decisions about how to stay afloat until the outbreak passes and the economy reopens. For two weeks, the Paycheck Protection Program gave them hope and relief.
Small businesses employ our friends, family, and neighbors in Texas 12. We all know someone who works for or owns a small business, so I want to update you on what we in Congress are doing to help them and you.
At the end of March, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the over-$2 trillion “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,” which included $349 billion to create the Paycheck Protection Program.
The Paycheck Protection Program launched April 3rd and immediately started providing long-term, low-interest loans for small business owners and nonprofits that are fully forgivable when used for employee payroll, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. If the business or nonprofit follows all guidelines during the 8-week loan period, their loan can be fully forgiven by the Small Business Administration.
Since its launch exactly two weeks ago, the Paycheck Protection Program has been helping businesses keep the lights on and people on payroll all across the country. Earlier this week, I was on a call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and he talked about the Paycheck Protection Program’s success. The program was already so successful that its demand was outpacing the amount of money available.
Yesterday morning, after exhausting the $349 billion available to make loans to American small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program—which is keeping an estimated 15 million Americans employed— ran out of money. I am urging Congress to come together and invest billions more in this successful, bipartisan program: small businesses and hardworking Americans are counting on us and deserve to grab onto this successful lifeline.
This outbreak has had far-reaching impacts across all industries, for businesses large and small. I’ll keep advocating for small businesses in Washington by working with colleagues in Congress and President Trump’s Administration to ensure that our whole-of-America response to the coronavirus also looks out for America’s Main Street. This includes the President’s new Congressional task force on reopening the economy, which I was appointed to just yesterday. This bipartisan task force will start direct dialogue between the President and Members of Congress like myself on the best way to reopen our economy and keep America healthy and prosperous. The Paycheck Protection Program is one of the most important issues for this new Congressional task force.
Americans, including our small business owners, should rest assured that many in their government are working around-the-clock to secure more of the resources needed to help us not only survive this uncertain time, but thrive once it passes.