Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Ron Kind voted in support of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for small businesses and provides more funding for hospitals, health care workers, and testing. The legislation passed through the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support.
“Over the past month, Congress has worked in a quick and bipartisan manner to make sure that our businesses, working families, farmers, and health care providers have the support they need during these tough times. Today we are expanding on that work to fill in gaps that were overlooked in the first two pieces of legislation and ensure that small businesses, banks, farms, and hospitals have the necessary support and resources they need—not just big banks, giant corporations, and hospitals in large cities,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Making sure these programs are working for those the programs were created and funded for is vital to keeping our rural communities alive.”
Today, Rep. Kind also sent a letter to the Department of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin calling for more oversight after multiple reports found that big, publicly traded companies received millions of dollars from the PPP, which was created to help small businesses. Meanwhile, many small businesses in Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District have had to wait for the PPP to be replenished before they can have access to this vital lifeline. Now that Congress has reloaded the PPP, Rep. Kind is demanding Sec. Mnuchin to take additional steps to ensure the additional funding is not swallowed up by a disproportionate number of large businesses that were not the intended recipients of the program.
The past several weeks, Rep. Kind has been advocating that Wisconsin’s working families, farmers, and small businesses get the necessary direct support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of Rep. Kind’s work, the following was included in the final legislation passed today:
- $60 Billion Set-Aside for Smaller Lenders: Rep. Kind has strongly advocated for this set-aside in his letter to the Treasury that asked Secretary Mnuchin to take steps to guarantee that smaller community banks and credit unions in rural areas would not be left behind in the allocation of funds for the PPP loans.
- A Provision Making Farmers and Other Agricultural Enterprises Now Eligible for the Small Business Disaster Program: The bill will allow agriculture to be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 and low-interest loans of up to $2 million through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Rep. Kind called for agriculture to be eligible in the program weeks ago in a bipartisan letter to the SBA.
- $75 Billion for Hospitals and Health Care Workers: The bill provides $75 billion for hospitals and other health care providers for health care expenses like desperately needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or revenue losses due to COVID-19. Earlier this month, Rep. Kind sent a letter with the Wisconsin delegation urging Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Azar to ensure Wisconsin hospitals receive a fair share of the $100 billion provided to hospitals and health care providers under the CARES Act.
- $25 Billion for Expanding COVID-19 Testing: Rep. Kind recently urged Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide the state of Wisconsin with the testing and medical supplies requested by Governor Evers. The funding for COVID-19 testing in the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act includes:
- $11 Billion for States, Localities, Territories, and Tribes for COVID-19 Testing
- $600 Million for Community Health Centers
- $225 Million for Rural Health Clinics