WASHINGTON — As a new, nearly $500 billion relief package makes its way to the House of Representatives for approval after being approved by the Senate Tuesday, lawmakers are trying to ensure small business owners who need assistance the most don’t miss out on funding during the next round.
- RELATED: Senate Passes $500B Bill to Aid Small Businesses, Sends it to the House
- Sen. Marco Rubio: "This was not designed to be 'The Hunger Games.'"
- Sen. Rick Scott: Oversight needs to occur BEFORE loans are issued
Among other things, the legislation passed by the Senate would add another $335 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses keep their workers employed for eight weeks. That program, part of the CARES ACT, ran out of funding in less than two weeks.
"This was not designed to be 'The Hunger Games,'” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), chairman of the Small Business Committee and the architect of the program.
Rubio said they’ve learned many lessons after implementing the first round of the Paycheck Protection Plan.
“What we’ve learned is that the small banks, mid-sized banks have done a much better job to help small business,” Rubio explained.
In the next round of funding, $60 billion will be reserved for smaller banks and underserved communities.
While the first wave of PPP funding was supposed to be granted to small businesses with less than 500 employees for loans up to $10 million, some nationwide chains were able to find loopholes. Rubio said there will be consequences for companies that have abused this program.
“If a company could have gotten money elsewhere, if a company has money or is making money and got a PPP loan, there’s a problem on their certification,” Rubio said. “The Small Business Committee will be investigating companies that did that. We’ll use our subpoena power if we have to,” he added.
Florida's junior senator, Sen. Rick Scott, said the oversight needs to occur before the loans are issued to ensure funds don’t end up in the wrong hands.
“We need to really clarify the language, it needs to be very clear," he explained. "Unless you’ve had a significant downturn in your revenue you should not be entitled to the forgivable loan. This should be a first-come first serve basis.”
Rubio said they’re working to tighten several regulations large businesses with a franchise model used to qualify for more than $10 million in loans.
“That was never the intent. That needs to be fixed in the regulations,” Rubio said.