After weeks of delay and needless obstruction, we were finally able to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program—providing billions more in forgivable loans to help small businesses keep their employees on payroll.
On Thursday, the House voted to add $310 billion to the program and specified that smaller banks, credit unions and community lenders will get a designated portion of that funding to lend. After all, they’re the ones who have stepped up to make this program happen, ensuring that small businesses across North Missouri are able to take advantage of the program.
The bill also added money to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program that is assisting businesses during this pandemic. This program provides grants of up to $10,000 for many businesses to keep them afloat and this bill will get this program back up and running.
We also passed additional funding for hospitals and healthcare providers to help with coronavirus-related expenses and lost revenue. Many were already struggling, and halting elective medical procedures to keep bed space available for potential COVID-19 patients forced them to make difficult financial decisions. With potential closures looming, this funding will provide some help. However, Congress must continue to find ways to provide financial and regulatory relief to our rural healthcare systems.
With this in mind, my colleagues and I sent a letter earlier this month requesting the Department of Treasury allow our rural, county-owned hospitals to participate in the Paycheck Protection Program. Initially, they weren’t eligible. I’m happy to report that we received good news today when new rules were released specifying that they are now allowed to participate in the program.
On top of that, more of the CARES Act funding for hospitals will begin going out the door to ensure our healthcare providers are able to continue to operate. $10 billion of that funding will be specifically dedicated to rural health clinics and hospitals. I’ll continue advocating for our healthcare systems across the district as they fight to survive in these uncertain times.
While this relief is helpful, what will ultimately provide final relief to our hospitals and our small businesses is reopening the economy. When we do begin to reopen, it’s important that we do it safely. Missouri is strong, and we will get through this.
In the meantime, Congress will continue to look at ways we can assist folks affected both by the coronavirus itself and the economic fallout that has ensued from it. As always, if you are having any issues, whether it’s related to the pandemic or not, please don’t hesitate to reach out.