Dear Ms. Brown:
Thank you for contacting me about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impact on small businesses and non-profits. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
Small businesses and non-profits are experiencing tremendous financial pressure brought on by conditions completely beyond their control. We must act swiftly and boldly to rescue our economy and support Wisconsin families, workers, and businesses.
In late March, I worked to pass bipartisan legislation to support Wisconsin families, workers, small businesses and health care providers. In addition to providing necessary relief for our nation’s hospitals and health care workers and first responders, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (P.L. 116-136) provided direct financial aid to American families, expands unemployment insurance for laid off workers and directs support to rescue small businesses. You can find more information on this legislation and how the CARES Act can help Wisconsinites here: https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/coronavirus.
Importantly, the CARES Act includes reforms included in legislation I authored (S. 3541) to provide small businesses with loan forgiveness if they keep employees on their payroll. The CARES Act provided $350 billion for the new Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Loan Program (PPP), which provides small businesses with zero-fee loans of up to $10 million to cover payroll and other operating expenses, such as rent and utilities. The CARES Act also provided emergency grants of up to $10,000 and relief from loan payments for businesses accessing SBA’s existing loan programs.
The Trump Administration is tasked with implementing the small business provisions of the CARES Act. I have heard from too many small business owners and lenders in Wisconsin frustrated that they were not able to access this critical aid while larger businesses got immediate help. After PPP ran out of its allotted money from the CARES Act, I called for additional funding and fixes to the program so that it works for small businesses in Wisconsin. You can read my letter to Senate Leadership and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin by visiting my website here: https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/press-releases/fixing-and-funding-small-business-programs.
On April 21, 2020, the Senate passed legislation (the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, P.L. 116-139) that made reforms to the SBA’s programs and replenished funding for the PPP and EIDL programs. This legislation provides an additional $310 billion for small business loans through PPP and funding for hospitals and COVID-19 testing. In addition, the legislation ensures greater access to PPP to businesses that do not have existing relationships with larger lenders by granting community-based lenders, smaller banks and credit unions funds set aside specifically for them to lend to small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act further provides additional funding for emergency grants to small businesses and for SBA’s existing disaster loan program. I called for small agriculture businesses to be given access to these programs and am proud to report this legislation does exactly that.
Please know that I’m working to ensure that Administration officials remove obstacles to providing relief to small businesses and non-profits in an efficient and timely manner. Every day counts right now and the Administration must get this right.
We are facing an unprecedented public health crisis, but we are all in this together. For the most accurate and up-to-date information about the outbreak, including steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 exposure, please visit the dedicated CDC website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. For information that is specific to the state of Wisconsin, you can visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/index.htm, or call (608) 266-1865. And finally, for information on your potential risk of infection or personal health status, including whether you should seek diagnostic testing, treatment or take steps to self-isolate, please contact your health care provider, or call (608) 266-1865 for further guidance.
Once again, thank you for contacting my office. It is important for me to hear from the people of Wisconsin on the issues, thoughts and concerns that matter most to you. If I can be of further assistance, please visit my website at www.baldwin.senate.gov for information on how to contact my office.