Doyle Wants Paycheck Protection Program Reformed to Help Struggling Small Businesses

April 29, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – April 29, 2020 – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18) called for changing the Paycheck Protection Program to more effectively help small businesses.

“The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to help small and minority-owned businesses hurt by the COVID-19 shutdown, but it missed the mark by a long shot,” said Congressman Doyle. “Consequently, many of those small businesses are now in even more dire straits. Congress has to fix the Paycheck Protection Program to make sure the help gets to them -- and that it gets there in time.”

“It’s outrageous that ‘mom and pop’ businesses have been unable to get help through this program, while a lot of its funding has gone to large corporations that Congress never intended it to cover. We set up a different program for them, and provided $500 billion in funding for it. The Treasury Department hasn’t provided us with much information about who got the first $350 billion from the Paycheck Protection Program, but we know that a number of big corporations wound up getting what may well be the lion’s share of it, and I want to know why.

“The responsibility for this fiasco lies squarely on the shoulders of the Trump Administration, which wrote regulations to implement the Paycheck Protection Program that left many businesses behind.

“These regulations excluded some CDFIs and smaller lenders from participating in the program. It’s outrageous that many of our small banks and nonprofit lending institutions in Pittsburgh don’t meet the eligibility requirements. 

“The small and minority-owned businesses that the Paycheck Protection Program was intended to help are mostly still out in the cold. We need to make sure they don’t get shut out any more. The lender eligibility criteria for the Paycheck Protection Program need to be reformed. If we aren’t distributing this funding through CDFIs and community banks, we aren’t doing this right.

“I’m going to keep fighting until we make this program work for all of the ‘mom and pop’ businesses that are still waiting for relief.”

Congress established the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under this program, small businesses may apply for forgivable loans to cover payroll, rent, utilities, and other operating costs. 

Enacted last week, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provided $310 billion to replenish the PPP, which had run out of funding – but in addition, the bill directed that $60 billion of the PPP assistance be distributed through community banks and nonprofit lending institutions, in order to ensure that more of this aid goes to very small and minority-owned businesses.

However, the Treasury Department required that in order to become a PPP lender, institutions must have originated at least $50 million in loans within a 12 month period over the last three years in order to qualify. This requirement effectively excluded many Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), credit unions, and community banks in Pittsburgh. Since these lenders typically work with smaller and minority-owned businesses, who don’t have relationships with bigger banks, many struggling businesses are unable to get help through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Congressman Doyle joined a number of other Members of Congress in sending a letter to House Leadership, urging it to include a requirement in the next bill for federal agencies to track data on minority-owned businesses' loan applications filed under the Paycheck Protection Program in order to monitor the number of loans approved and denied.

The Congressman will continue to push for reforms that will help the smallest lenders and businesses and continue to hold the Administration accountable for implementing the law to ensure that all Americans have access to the assistance they need during this difficult time.

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