Congresswoman Maxine Waters Leads Effort to Secure Coronavirus Relief Funding for Small, Minority & Women Owned Businesses
By Maxine Waters
WASHINGTON – In the interim emergency relief package that was recently signed into law and replenished the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $310 billion, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, led the fight to target $60 billion of those funds towards small, minority, and women owned businesses. The bill, which is known as the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R. 266), also provides $50 billion for Small Business Administration disaster funding, translating into more than $350 billion in small business loans and $10 billion in emergency disaster grants.
Congresswoman Waters was deeply disappointed with the way in which many megabanks prioritized the PPP applications of their wealthiest clients, offering some high-end businesses “concierge” and VIP treatment while the applications of many small businesses failed to be approved before PPP funding ran out. As a result, Congresswoman Waters drafted legislation and organized a strong coalition of her colleagues to successfully set aside $60 billion for loans that are granted by Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), community banks, credit unions, certified development companies, and micro lenders, all of whom work with small, women, and minority owned businesses in communities across the country and are anxious to assist them with completing their PPP applications. Of the $60 billion, $30 billion was assigned to MDIs, banks, and credit unions with less than $50 billion in assets, and the remaining $30 billion was assigned to MDIs, CDFIs, certified development companies, and micro lenders that have less than $10 billion in assets.
This funding would not have been possible without the diverse leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House; Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the first African American and woman to Chair the Financial Services Committee; Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Chair of the Small Business Committee and the first Latina to chair a full Congressional committee; the Congressional Black Caucus; the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; and the Democratic Women’s Caucus, all of whom understand the unique challenges facing small, women, and minority owned businesses, and were willing to fight for the inclusion of community based financial institutions that are well equipped to serve them.
“My colleagues and I have proven once again that diversity truly does make a difference. Were it not for the leadership of my Democratic colleagues and I who represent every region and community in this country, we would not have an interim emergency relief package that opens up opportunities for small, minority, and women owned businesses – far too many of whom were not the beneficiaries of the first round of Paycheck Protection Program funding through the Small Business Administration,” said Congresswoman Waters. “We know that our MDIs, CDFIs, credit unions, and community banks play an integral role in providing financial resources to underserved communities, and I am so grateful for the work of my Committee and my colleagues in securing$60 billion that will be targeted towards small business owners who are desperately in need of assistance during this difficult time.”
The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act also provides $25 billion to expand nationwide testing and $75 billion to support hospitals and provide additional personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers.
“It is no secret that the coronavirus pandemic is a crisis like no other that has compromised the health and financial security of millions of Americans. I am so pleased that my colleagues and I have worked together to pass interim emergency relief legislation that will protect our small businesses and aid our hospitals and frontline workers. However, we are still only scratching the surface,” said Congresswoman Waters. “I have already drafted legislation that creates a $100 billion emergency rental assistance fund and a $75 billion homeowner assistance fund to ensure that we prevent evictions and protect the financial security of homeowners, small and midsized rental property owners, and renters. I will continue to fight for these and other proposals that will protect working families and the least of these from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in the next relief package.”