Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, made the following statement regarding the bipartisan agreement on legislation to provide $370 billion in funding to assist small businesses struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I applaud Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer for their leadership and their work to secure $370 billion in additional much-needed funding to assist struggling small businesses, as well as to provide $100 billion to support hospitals and expand coronavirus testing.
“I thank Small Business Committee Chairwoman Velázquez for her work with me and my Committee on securing the important funding for our nation’s small financial institutions.
“This deal specifically sets aside $60 billion in funding for our nation’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), community banks, credit unions, certified development companies and microlenders, which are well-positioned in communities across the country to lend to the neighborhood small businesses that need funding the most.
“I also appreciate the work of the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to work with me and my fellow Democrats to remove existing impediments that keep non-bank CDFIs from participating as lenders in the PPP, including by reducing the $50 million lending requirement.
“I urge Treasury and the SBA to ensure that the $370 billion in new funding is prioritized to actual small businesses by prioritizing loans less than $150,000. The smallest of small businesses do not have access to the capital markets like larger corporations, and so should not have to compete for these emergency funds.
“Following the passage of this interim legislation, Congress must immediately turn to comprehensive legislation to address other aspects of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
“In the next bill, it is critical for Congress to provide additional assistance to struggling homeowners, renters, landlords and people experiencing homelessness. As part of that effort, the Financial Services Committee is proposing the creation of a $100 billion rental assistance fund and $75 billion homeowner assistance fund so that struggling families are able to cover their rent or mortgage payments as well as utility payments. I will be working with my colleagues to ensure that these and other critical elements of the Committee’s proposals to protect and help our communities are included in the next coronavirus response package.”