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NH Delegation Urges Administration to Address Granite State Small Business Concerns With Implementation of New COVID-19 Assistance Programs

**Letter follows the congressional delegation's previous letter last week calling on the administration to provide better guidance to lending institutions so they can issue loans through the new Paycheck Protection Program.**

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) urged Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to address New Hampshire small business concerns about the implementation of the financial assistance programs that were recently passed into law as part of the bipartisan Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. In their letter, the delegation highlights problems that small business owners are experiencing with the new emergency grant program operated through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and the new Paycheck Protection Program.


Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, was a lead negotiator of the small business assistance provisions in the CARES Act. Senator Shaheen spoke with Administrator Carranza yesterday to discuss the implementation of programs in the CARES Act designed to help small businesses. Shaheen was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME), who also led negotiations on bipartisan relief for small businesses in the CARES Act, providing more than $377 billion in assistance.


In their letter, the delegation underscored the need to get emergency grant funding through the EIDL program out the door to small businesses immediately and that delays are hurting those who need assistance now. They wrote, “Though we understand the enormous implementation tasks currently underway at your agencies, we are seriously concerned about this delay in funds for employers in our state that urgently need this emergency assistance, and we urge you to take all possible steps to ensure that EIDL emergency grants are disbursed as quickly as possible.”


The delegation also raised concerns that New Hampshire small employers with fewer than 10 employees may not receive the maximum $10,000 EIDL emergency grant, and that employers facing major operational disruptions may be ineligible for the maximum EIDL loan amount of $2 million, due to the way in which Treasury and SBA are determining EIDL grant and loan sizes. They urged the administration to use the broad emergency rulemaking authority granted by the CARES Act to ensure that the smallest employers and employers needing significant EIDL loans receive the direct assistance needed to stay afloat during this crisis.


Shaheen, Hassan, Kuster and Pappas also addressed concerns with the administration’s implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program, writing, “…many employers in New Hampshire have faced barriers in applying for PPP assistance through lenders with which they have no pre-existing lending relationship. The PPP program is intended to directly support all small employers, including non-profits and small businesses that have less extensive relationships with financial institutions. As your agencies refine and communicate PPP guidance to lending partners, it is crucial that you ensure that all small employers have timely access to PPP assistance through a streamlined application process with minimal paperwork burdens.”


They also urged the administration to specifically take into account how to ensure access to Paycheck Protection Program assistance for self-employed individuals, who are eligible to apply to the program as of tomorrow—Friday, April 10. The delegation closed their letter by reaffirming the need to continue bipartisan cooperation between Congress and the administration to provide this direct assistance as quickly as possible to small businesses.


The letter is available in full here.


Today’s letter follows the congressional delegation's letter to Carranza and Mnuchin last week, calling on the administration to provide better guidance to lending institutions so that they can issue loans through the new Paycheck Protection Program.


Senators Shaheen and Hassan and Representatives Kuster and Pappas have fought for and voted in favor of three economic response bills to provide financial relief to states in their response efforts, to support workers, businesses and families impacted by the spread of the coronavirus, and the new legislation to provide immediate financial relief to those affected by the pandemic. The President signed all three bills into law. The first economic package led to New Hampshire receiving an initial $4.9 million in funds from the CDC.