WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Small Business Committee and champion for small businesses, has helped deliver support through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to 61,418 Iowa businesses totaling $5,124,660,961.
“There’s no doubt about it, the Paycheck Protection Program has been a key lifeline for Iowa small businesses and workers. I’ve heard about the relief it’s provided time and again while out and about on my 99 County Tour, over virtual town halls, you name it. COVID-19 has certainly impacted our workers and businesses, but through the help of this important program we’ve seen more than 61,000 Iowa employers keep their workers on the payroll and their businesses afloat,” said Senator Ernst.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Senator Ernst has been working to get small businesses in Iowa the support they need. Senator Ernst has stayed in consistent communication with local employers and business owners throughout the pandemic, including Iowans in the Quad Cities, Siouxland, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Ames, over conference calls and telephone town halls that included local Small Business Administration (SBA) officials.
As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, Ernst helped create the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a forgivable loan to help small businesses survive the pandemic and keep their employees on payroll. She also helped secure eligibility for nonprofits and child care providers. Ernst also helped to bolster funding for the PPP after the funds were quickly depleted.
One issue Ernst heard from many Iowa businesses and lenders was that the PPP’s forgiveness application was far too complicated for smaller applicants. Ernst pressed Secretary Mnuchin on this during a Small Business Committee hearing, and joined a number of her colleagues in sending a letter asking the Treasury Department and SBA to streamline the application. Because of Ernst’s efforts, the SBA and Treasury provided a revised, borrower-friendly PPP loan forgiveness application and SBA also published a new EZ version of the forgiveness application.
Thanks to Ernst’s efforts Iowa’s publicly-owned hospitals with 500 or fewer employees – like many rural, county-owned hospitals throughout Iowa – were eligible for the relief provided through the PPP.
In addition, Ernst successfully called on the SBA to ensure access for Iowa’s farmers to the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and also increased the funding for this program in the Phase 3.5 relief package.