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Pingree & Golden to SBA: Offer Zero-Interest Loans to Small Businesses, Nonprofits Facing COVID-19 Impacts

Washington, March 18, 2020

Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Congressman Jared Golden (D-Maine) joined Congressman Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) in calling on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to make available zero-interest loans for small businesses and nonprofits that are facing serious economic challenges from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has already caused unprecedented operating challenges, reduced consumer demand, and forced outright closures.

“99% of our Maine businesses are small businesses. In the past week, many of these establishments—from restaurants to yoga studios to mom-and-pop shops—have had to close their doors because to the coronavirus pandemic. This is for the preservation of our public health, but it is going to have sweeping impacts on our state’s more than 145,000 small businesses,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “It is essential that SBA offer zero-interest loans immediately to help these businesses face the future of our state’s economy. As we discuss economic solutions to this crisis, we have to prioritize the small businesses that make our economic engine tick and pay the salaries of more than 280,000 Mainers.”

“New Hampshire's 130,000 small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the nonprofit community does amazing work throughout the Granite State. In recent days, business as usual has been obliterated for our small businesses. That is why it’s essential that SBA offers zero-interest loans to help them weather this unprecedented period and get back up on their feet as quickly as possible,” said Congressman Pappas. “As a small business owner myself, I understand the challenges businesses face in the best of times. We are now experiencing a level of hardship that has never been seen, and we must meet this moment with swift and meaningful action. I remain committed to advocating for more support and direct assistance for New Hampshire’s small businesses and nonprofit sector so that they can keep their lights on, pay their bills, and support their workers.”

As part of its recent Administrative Disaster Declaration, the SBA set interest rates at 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profit organizations with terms up to 30 years for the entire state of Maine. As SBA continues its effort to provide support to our nation’s small businesses and non-profits during the COVID-19 outbreak, Representatives Pingree, Golden, and Pappas are calling on SBA to offer zero-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits that will face severe and prolonged impacts.

By providing zero-interest loans and more flexible terms on these working capital loans, we can help ensure businesses and nonprofits have the resources to keep their doors open through these uncertain times, without having to worry about burdensome interest payments in the future. 

Full text of the letter can be found here.

Pingree has been active in coronavirus response efforts in Congress and in Maine. She has pushed federal leaders for support of small businesses across Maine; following her letter with the Maine delegation to the SBA in support of Governor Mills’ request, SBA approved Maine’s eligibility for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program. Pingree’s work responding to coronavirus can be found at pingree.house.gov/coronavirus.

Golden has prioritized the needs of small businesses and their workers in his work to address the coronavirus outbreak. A member of the House Small Business Committee, he pressed the SBA last week to make public detailed criteria, a timetable, and an outreach plan for their disaster loan program as soon as possible. Golden also joined the Maine delegation in support of Governor Mills’ EIDL request.

 

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