Rep. Lee on Interim COVID-19 Relief Package: Necessary, but Not Perfect

April 23, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03) released the following statement after joining her House colleagues in passing an interim COVID-19 relief package to provide essential funding for small businesses, hospitals, and testing: 

“The coronavirus has ravaged the economy of Nevada and the passage of this critical funding couldn’t have come sooner. This extension of the Paycheck Protection Program provides critical funding to small business and specifically reserves funds for small and medium community-based lenders, small banks, and credit unions, so these institutions can help smaller businesses that were cut out of the initial support. In addition, this bill provides funding for much needed resources, like personal protective equipment, that our hospitals and health care workers depend on to effectively fight the pandemic, and helps secure billions of dollars for expanded testing, helping to get us one step closer to reopening the economy and getting our lives back to normal.

“Although passing this funding was necessary, the package wasn’t perfect and we still have much work to do. This supplemental package fails to change the unfair Small Business Administration guidelines that prevent small businesses that rely on more than 50 percent of revenue from legal gaming from accessing the Paycheck Protection Program. We owe it to our local bars, restaurants, and other small businesses that depend on legal gaming to get rid of this unfair barrier. Aid for our small towns and cities like Henderson and Boulder City, which are in dire need of funds to help keep us safe, was also left out of this package. I will continue to work hard to get that relief in the upcoming CARES 2 package to ensure that all Southern Nevadans have the relief they need.”

BACKGROUND: The interim emergency coronavirus relief that the House passed includes the following: 

  • For small businesses: The package strengthens the Paycheck Protection Program with $310 billion in additional funding, with $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks, and credit unions and $30 billion for medium-sized banks and credit unions. The package expands small business support beyond PPP by securing $50 billion for SBA disaster lending, translating into more than $350 billion in loans, and $10 billion in SBA disaster grants. The package also secures strong protections to ensure that our nation’s farmers have access to this vital assistance. 
  • For hospitals and health care workers: The package secures $75 billion to provide resources to the front lines, including Personal Protective Equipment. The administration has also agreed to key improvements to be made in CARES 2, including significantly lowering the interest rate on advance payments, lengthening the repayment schedule and distributing payments from general revenues, not the Hospital Insurance Fund.
  • For all Americans: The package secures $25 billion for testing, which is the key to reopening the economy and resuming our lives. The administration has agreed to a national strategic testing policy that will focus on increasing domestic testing capacity, including testing supplies. 

On Apr. 20, Reps. Lee and Joyce Beatty (Ohio-03) authored a letter calling on U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.-12) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.-23) to fix a technical glitch from previously passed coronavirus relief legislation that has prevented roughly 130 privately insured credit unions nationwide—including many in southern Nevada—from participating as lenders of these critical Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. Rep. Lee and her colleagues asked Congress to clarify clear eligibility for privately insured credit unions to offer PPP lending, thereby improving access to this important program for thousands of small businesses in critical need in Nevada and across the country.

Today’s package provided these much needed clarifications for Nevada credit unions.

The full text of the letter can be found here.