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Blaine’s Bulletin: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Update

Washington, April 24, 2020

For more than a month now, the coronavirus has caused normal life to stall for the majority of Missourians and our economy. Children have been home from school, many businesses have been closed, and our medical community has been working around the clock to fight this virus and keep us healthy. Many Missouri businesses, our favorite restaurants, barber shops, florists and bakeries, have been devastated by the economic impacts of the virus and need help weathering this storm. This week’s bill to provide additional funding to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $100 billion for our nation’s hospitals and medical providers was another important step to do just that.

The Paycheck Protection Program focuses specifically on small businesses.  While there have been disturbing reports of larger businesses and wealthy, private universities taking advantage of the program, which is being addressed, PPP has worked. 74 percent of the loans made through PPP were for less than $150,000, helping small businesses make payroll and cover expenses.  And, because most small businesses prefer to work with banks in their community, it is encouraging to see that 80 percent of PPP loans were made by small community banks.

PPP has been a notable success here in Missouri. Since the CARES Act was passed at the end of March, 769,000 jobs in Missouri have been supported by PPP.  According to the bipartisan Joint Economic Committee, an additional 696,000 jobs are estimated to be saved by the bill the House passed on Thursday. In many cases, these jobs are the difference between a family being able to pay the rent and put a meal on the table. 

Because of my position on the House Financial Services Committee, I have been speaking to groups of small bankers around Missouri and the country daily. We’ve worked together to address some of the kinks in the new system, and I have gotten to hear some very encouraging stories.  Recognizing that small businesses don’t have the luxury of taking a day off, one bank here in the Third District took advantage of the lower amount of traffic on the SBA’s website over Easter weekend and processed almost 200 loan applications for businesses in the community. Because of their willingness to go the extra mile, hundreds, if not thousands, of workers in Missouri are getting a paycheck. 

Speaking of going the extra mile, no group, outside of our military and first responders, have done more for our community than medical professionals. They are putting themselves on the line while treating patients everyday only to go to a hotel or mobile home at night away from their families. The bill passed this week includes $100 billion for increased testing, protective wear, and other expenses associated with the outbreak. The best way to say thank you to those who protect us is to protect them.  Additional resources will allow that to happen. 

As a member of President Trump’s Opening Up America Again Congressional Group – a task force created to reopen the economy – I am doing everything I can to put America back on the path to economic success while maintaining the health and safety of every Missourian. The Paycheck Protection Program and additional health funding is helping us achieve our goals, but we all need to do our part as well.  Please continue supporting our local workers and businesses while following the advice of medical professionals. The more we work together and look out for each other, the more quickly we can put this behind us. As always, my office is here if you need anything.