Pingree Calls for Unrestricted Direct Cash Relief for Small Business
Washington, April 29, 2020
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today cosponsored the Restore America’s Main Street Act, legislation to support small businesses by providing them with unrestricted direct cash relief to keep their businesses in operation. H.R. 6619 would create the first-ever small business rebate check to pay employees, rent, and other general businesses expenses.
“96 percent of Maine’s business are considered small businesses, and these businesses employ more than half of our workforce. The coronavirus has put a huge strain on Maine’s small businesses and workforce, which are the lifeblood of our state’s economy. These businesses are suffering, and while Congress’ efforts thus far have provided relief for some, they haven’t been enough for Maine’s smallest or seasonal operations,” said Pingree. “For Maine’s diverse network of small businesses and non-profits, we must create the equivalent of a stimulus check for them to keep operating. Direct payments to these businesses will ensure they can support their workers and pay their rents until the economy gets going again.
The Restore America’s Main Street Act targets the smallest businesses and focuses on getting them immediate and unrestricted relief through a small business rebate check. These rebates could be used to pay employees, rent, debt service, and vendors to help these businesses keep their lights on. Qualifying small businesses with $1.5 million or less in gross receipts and 50 or fewer employees would receive a check equal to 30% of the gross receipts reported in a previous year, up to $120,000. Self-employed and certain charitable organizations will also be eligible for the rebate. No application would be needed, as direct relief would be provided to qualifying businesses.
Pingree has repeatedly pushed federal leaders for support of small businesses across Maine. On April 16, she authored a letter to House leaders, outlining solutions to better support small businesses and their workforces during the coronavirus pandemic. She has also pushed for zero-interest loans for Maine’s small businesses since the beginning of the pandemic, first writing to the Small Business Administration on March 18 to push for action that would keep these businesses in operation.