WASHINGTON— Today, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva introduced his first bill of the new Congress. The Border Business COVID-19 Rescue Act will provide targeted funds to small businesses along the border to address the unique economic injuries incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill distributes funds through a Small Business Administration Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program and provides immediate $10,000 advance loans that do not require repayment and loans of up to $500,000 for eligible expenses. Additionally, it allows the SBA to forgive up to 100 percent of the awarded loans and specifically targets funds to qualifying small border businesses with adjusted gross incomes under $500,000 within 25 miles of a U.S. border.
“Vibrant cross-border traffic is the lifeblood of the border economy,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “Border closures under the public health emergency have uniquely devastated these business corridors that have existed for generations. Many border businesses saw little or no support from previous relief programs, and this bill will ensure that resources go directly to those that have suffered disproportionately.”
With pandemic-related border closures nearing their year mark, businesses along the northern and southern border have been especially hard hit. In Arizona, the City of Nogales recorded one-fifth of the border crossings in April 2020 it recorded during the same period in April 2019. This translates to a sales tax revenue of $776,000 in April 2020, a thirty percent decline from $1.1 million reported in April 2019. This sharp decrease in revenue hits local governments hard while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen.
“With a vaccine already in place, the end of the pandemic is in sight,” continued Rep. Grijalva. “We must target assistance to the hardest hit small businesses so they can safely weather the next few months and are ready to bounce back stronger than ever. I’m proud to fight for the border businesses that are a vital part of our economy and make our congressional district so special.”