WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today issued the following statement after voting against Senate Republicans’ partisan COVID-19 relief bill, which failed to pass the Senate:
“The best action Congress can take to help small businesses is to provide state and local governments, health providers, and first responders with the resources they need to get COVID-19 under control. Unfortunately, the bill Senate Republicans brought to the floor today does not provide adequate resources to support the public health response to COVID-19, it does not provide enough support for the millions of families affected by the pandemic, and it does not provide adequate support for small businesses.
“While state and local government budgets are cratering due to COVID-19 related expenses and revenue shortfalls, this legislation does not provide any additional relief to maintain essential services. And the bill does not provide support for hungry families, funding for frontline healthcare workers, or money to help schools re-open safely.
“I am disappointed that, despite bipartisan agreement on many of the measures needed to support American small businesses struggling to survive COVID-19, Senator McConnell and the Administration have turned the response to the pandemic into a partisan fight. Six months into the pandemic, there is bipartisan agreement on the need to invest more in the most vulnerable small businesses harmed by COVID-19, especially those in minority, rural, and other underbanked communities. In June, Senators Chris Coons, Jeanne Shaheen and I introduced legislation to create the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program, which would provide a second loan to the most vulnerable small businesses and reserve $25 billion for businesses with 10 or fewer employees. I have also been supportive of bipartisan efforts by Senators Jacky Rosen and John Cornyn to provide more resources for the EIDL program and remove the counterproductive limitations placed on the program by the Administration.
“Senate Republicans’ proposal fails to target aid to the small businesses that need it most and it is still too reliant on traditional banking relationships to deliver capital to small businesses. The bill also does not invest in the EIDL program, which has provided more than 3.5 million American entrepreneurs with long-term, low-interest loans, and the bill does not provide grants for small businesses that need capital but are not able to take on new debt. The Senate Republican proposal also cuts all funding to the Small Business Debt Relief program created by the CARES Act, which provides vital liquidity to small businesses by covering the monthly payments of SBA-backed loans for six months.
“I am urging Senate Republicans and the Trump Administration to accept Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer’s offer to meet Democrats in the middle so we can pass a bipartisan bill that meets the scale of the crises facing our nation.”