HENRICO, V.A. – Following widespread reports of publicly-traded companies hoarding federal, taxpayer-funded loans intended for small businesses, U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is fighting for answers for Central Virginia small businesses and pressing the administration to release important information about the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Today — Thursday, May 14 — marks the deadline to return PPP loans without penalty. But according to recent reports, most public U.S. companies that have received PPP loan funding have not indicated that they will be returning these funds. To date, only $411 million has been returned out of a total of $1.32 billion received by public companies.
In a letter sent to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Small Businesses Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza, Spanberger called on the administration to release information about the recipients of PPP funding—including the amounts of funding they received, when their applications were approved, and when they received this information. With this additional information, Spanberger is looking to establish greater accountability and make changes to the program in future iterations of PPP to make the program work for Main Street businesses. Additionally, Spanberger called for this list to be made available to Congress and the American public.
“Many of our smallest businesses have been unable to secure assistance, while there have been numerous reported cases of large companies quickly receiving funding. In light of this, it is imperative that the Small Business Administration and the Department of the Treasury allow Congress and the public to access information detailing the administration of the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Spanberger. “In particular, I request information detailing which organizations have been provided PPP funding, the amount of funding they received, when their applications were approved, and when they received their loans.
Spanberger’s letter builds on her work to bring greater transparency to federal small business loan assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, she helped introduce the TRUTH Act, which would direct the SBA to explain and justify all disbursements of coronavirus relief funds.
Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is also below.
Dear Administrator Carranza and Secretary Mnuchin,
I write to urge your immediate attention and swift action on an issue that threatens the financial security and longevity of small businesses.
On March 27, the House passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act (PL 116-136), which was shortly thereafter signed into law, to respond to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As the public health measures necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus are taking a particular toll on small businesses, the CARES Act provides significant assistance to small businesses that might otherwise not be able to survive the impact, including through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As a resource for small businesses, sole proprietors, contractors, and the self-employed, PPP loans are meant to be available for small businesses, defined as having fewer than 500 employees, that have suffered economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, I was shocked and disappointed to learn that, contrary to Congressional intent, the program has not functioned as intended. Specifically, many of our smallest businesses have been unable to secure assistance, while there have been numerous reported cases of large companies quickly receiving funding. In light of this, it is imperative that the Small Business Administration and the Department of the Treasury allow Congress and the public to access information detailing the administration of the Paycheck Protection Program. In particular, I request information detailing which organizations have been provided PPP funding, the amount of funding they received, when their applications were approved, and when they received their loans. I further request that this information be made available to Congress and the public. This information will be integral to crafting future legislation that best serves our small businesses.
Thank you for your attention to this critical matter and for your work to address the economic impacts of this pandemic. Your swift action on this issue will help alleviate the concerns of our nation’s small businesses, which are vital to the success of our country and our communities.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Spanberger has worked to deliver immediate relief to Central Virginia small businesses, fix issues with PPP’s implementation, and keep the Seventh District’s employees on the payroll. Last month, she led an effort calling on the administration to fix problems faced by community banks and credits unions related to the rollout of the PPP.
Spanberger has also continued to press for changes to the PPP’s 75-25 percent rule. Earlier in April, Spanberger sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza urging the administration to rescind this burdensome requirement related to non-payroll costs.
And following the opening of the PPP application, Spanberger urged the SBA and participating lenders to make sure these funds are delivered to Central Virginia businesses, sole-proprietorships, and self-employed individuals in the most efficient and expedient way. She also sent a letter to Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza expressing her strong concerns about the PPP’s shaky rollout and its consequences for small businesses needing financial assistance during this crisis. Additionally, she called on the administration to provide additional guidance to PPP lenders that would clarify eligibility requirements and encourage lenders to provide PPP loans to all eligible businesses.