U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and 21 of her Senate colleagues are urging the U.S. Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make sure the latest round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds reach the small businesses that need it.
“Small businesses and their workers are under incredible stress right now, and we must continue to do everything in our power to help them stay in business and keep their workers employed,” according to the letter dated April 27 to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza. “As small business owners await distribution of the additional funding provided for the program … it is critical that the funding provided by Congress be used to provide loans to the businesses whose owners and employees’ livelihoods are truly at risk as a result of the pandemic.”
Spokespersons for the Treasury and SBA did not respond to a request for comment.
Last week, Congress passed $310 billion in new money for PPP, including $60 billion set aside for small lenders. It follows the original measure that saw its funds depleted in less than two weeks.
The SBA started taking applications on Monday (April 27) for the second round of forgivable loans after President Donald Trump signed the bill on Friday (April 24). The launch was slow, as the SBA's website was overwhelmed with requests.
Published reports revealed that the distribution of the initial round of funding was not limited to struggling small businesses that truly needed the money to stay open, the senators wrote.
“For these reasons, we urge you to develop strong supervisory mechanisms to identify instances of unjust enrichment. This is not just a matter of rooting out fraud and abuse – the funding for this program, which we support, is necessarily finite,” the letter said. “Every loan that provides a windfall for an applicant who does not truly need it results in one fewer loan made to a struggling small business owner whose employees could be truly helped by this funding.”
In addition to Klobuchar, a former candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, the letter was signed by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
The letter was also signed by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada ), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), Dianne Feinstein (D-California), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Angus King (I-Maine), Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Tina Smith (D-Minnesota), Thomas Udall (D-New Mexico), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).