By Congressman Roger Williams
America is currently facing an unprecedented pandemic that has upended much of our normal routines and touched every aspect of our society. Schools are finishing the year online, businesses are forced to close their storefronts, and most all events have been canceled for the foreseeable future. These drastic measures are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the influx of patients does not overwhelm our healthcare system. The inconveniences we are experiencing in the short-term are helping to save lives and put our nation back on track for future generations.
President Trump last week signed the CARES Act, the largest spending package in our country’s history, to provide desperately needed relief to families, health care providers, and businesses. The bill includes money to provide vital medical equipment to the hospital workers on the front lines fighting this disease, funds to help farmers and ranchers feed our nation, and support for small businesses across the country experiencing financial hardship.
One of the key provisions to assist small businesses in the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program, will be available to business owners starting April 3. The Paycheck Protection Program is intended to help millions of Americans by providing $349 billion in low interest loans and grants directly to employers so they may survive this economic setback and retain their workforce.
As a small business owner for over 50 years, I know all too well the tough decisions that our small business owners are being forced to make during this trying time. Employees who have been loyal and stayed the course are now being met with uncertainty for their future, left to determine whether there will be a job to return to when the crisis subsides. The Paycheck Protection Program is a small step to helping Main Street America rebound.
If a business can maintain the same number of employees on payroll, then a portion of the loan will be forgiven. This will help businesses weather the crisis without laying off staff and will ensure that employees have a continuous source of income for the duration. If you believe you are an eligible small business that would benefit from this type of assistance, I urge you to talk to your local lender.
Small businesses are the heartbeat of the American economy, and they are suffering right now through no fault of their own. I will continue fighting for Main Street America and will remain a steadfast champion for small businesses as we work together to make it to the other side.