(Washington, DC) – Last week, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a bipartisan push led by U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) to Small Business Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman urging her to disburse Shuttered Venue Operator Grant funding to struggling live entertainment venues as soon as possible.
The Senators wrote, “The Save Our Stages Act, now the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, was created to prevent widespread closures of venues that have been devastated by the loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As supporters of the SVOG program, we urge you to take immediate action to ensure that the relief reaches eligible applicants without further delay.”
“It has been nearly six months since Congress passed the Save our Stages Act, nearly two months since the second launch of the program, and 51 days since the Small Business Administration (SBA) began receiving applications.”
They continued, “Bureaucratic process cannot stand in the way of getting these desperately needed funds out the door.”
In addition to Shaheen, Hassan, Klobuchar and Cornyn, the letter was signed by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), James Risch (R-ID), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Patty Murray (D-WA), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Bill Haggerty (R-TN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Rob Portman (R-OH), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), John Thune (R-SD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), John Boozman (R-AR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jon Tester (D-MT), Mike Braun (R-IN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Casey (D-PA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE).
Full text of the letter is available here.
As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Shaheen worked to establish new SBA grants for shuttered live venues, independent movie theaters and other cultural institutions. Shaheen and Hassan are both cosponsors of the Save Our Stages Act. Through the Save Our Stages Act and the Entertainments New Credit Opportunity for Relief and Economic Sustainability (ENCORES) Act, Shaheen has prioritized efforts to help this important sector of the state’s economy recoup some of the losses they have experienced due to canceled events.
Shaheen, also a senior member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has worked to provide small businesses with the resources they need to weather and recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She helped lead negotiations on provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law last March to assist small businesses. She also established the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program in the CARES Act. Both of these programs have been lifelines for businesses throughout New Hampshire and the country. To date, over 40,000 New Hampshire small businesses and non-profits have received over $3.6 billion in PPP assistance. In March, President Biden signed into law the PPP Extension Act of 2021, legislation authored by Senators Shaheen, Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) to help small employers retain access to forgivable PPP loans.
The American Rescue Plan includes the bipartisan Recovery Startup Assistance Act that Senator Hassan introduced to provide payroll assistance through the Employee Retention Tax Credit to new small businesses started during the pandemic. So far, many new businesses have been unable to access other COVID-19 relief programs. Furthermore, the December COVID-19 relief and government funding package included bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Hassan to allow eligible small employers to both participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and also claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help keep workers on payroll and pay for their health care coverage. Previously, small employers could not participate in both of these programs.