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Local congressmen will follow senators’ lead, vote for more Paycheck Protection Program funding

By Liz Moomey

liz.moomey@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — U.S. Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr on Tuesday voted to allocate additional funding to small business relief during the COVID-19, and Reps. Ted Budd and Richard Hudson say they plan to vote the same way.

The new bill would provide $484 billion in additional funding for coronavirus emergency relief. The majority of the funding, $310 billion, allows for the continuation of for Small Business Administration loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP provides loans for small businesses to continue to pay employees through a forgivable loan and pay for other expenses that may also be forgivable.

In late March, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the CARES Act, a stimulus package of $2.2 trillion. It provided $350 billion for small business. The funding dried up last week.

For North Carolinians, the Small Business Administration has approved $8.05 billion worth of loans to more than 39,000 applicants.

Budd, R-13, said in a statement he sees the additional relief funds “as a necessary step to keep our small businesses and workers whole while we fight the virus.”

Hudson, R-8, said he plans to vote for the bill to save people’s jobs.

“We need to keep this program running to continue supporting workers and small businesses,” Hudson said.

Burr, a Republican and the state’s senior senator, said Congress needs to provide relief in a time of need and to work together.

“I’m proud the Senate has passed this bipartisan agreement as our nation continues to fight an unprecedented public health battle,” Burr said in a statement. “This legislation gives additional support to struggling small businesses by reinforcing the critical Paycheck Protection Program.”

Tillis, a Republican, also said he was happy to report the Senate was able to put $300 billion more into the Paycheck Protection Program. Though, he added during a Wednesday virtual town hall meeting that it was sad it took a week and a half for action to be taken.

In a Tuesday night statement, Tillis said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, “Halted this program for a week in order to play partisan political games resulting in extra unnecessary hardship and uncertainty for small business owners across the state and country.”

He said it is likely Congress will need to allocate even more money to the Paycheck Protection Program and make improvements based on small businesses and nonprofits.

“I’m committed to putting the health and jobs of North Carolinians first, and we cannot allow partisan politics to get in the way of assisting the American people during this global crisis,” Tillis stated.

Hudson said Congress “needs to let this latest round of funding work and then determine where needs exist before spending more of our grandkids’ money.”

The bill also includes $75 billion for hospitals and health care providers, $25 billion to research, develop, manufacture, administer and expand testing capacity, $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan program grants, $50 billion for additional disaster recovery loans and $60 billion for smaller lending facilities.

Tillis said he believes Gov. Roy Cooper and local elected officials have done a good job responding “given the uncertainty.” But Tillis said he didn’t think the population as a whole was doing as much as they could to prevent the spread. Tillis said Cooper needs to see North Carolinians taking his orders seriously or he will have to increase restrictions.

“The governor is going to be tasked with a life and death decision when we start reducing restrictions, so help him have more comfort in making that decision by making a mask,” Tillis said during his Wednesday town hall.

Hudson said people are anxious to get back to work and return to some form of normalcy.

“We must do this while protecting public health,” Hudson said. “President Trump has laid out a good framework to reopen our country, and I will work with him and the governor to support families, workers and small businesses in our state and get North Carolina back open.”

Budd said he is eager to have North Carolina’s economy reopen and the state can begin that process “right away while still consulting with and listening to our medical experts.” 

“We have to get the gears of our country moving again before we see any more permeant damage for our workers,” Budd said.

Editor’s note: The story has been corrected to state “Hudson, R-8, said he plans to vote for the bill to save people’s jobs.” We apologize for this error. 

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