TUCSON— Today, President Joe Biden announced changes to the Paycheck Protection Program that will ensure smaller minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses have access to necessary funding to weather the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The changes open the program to independent contractors and self-employed individuals, remove barriers to noncitizen small businesses owners applying for funds, and create a special two-week period in which only businesses with fewer than 20 employees can apply for relief.
“Small businesses are the backbone of communities across the country and provide pathways to the middle class for millions of workers and families,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “We’re a year into the pandemic, and many continue struggling to keep their workers on the payroll, pay their bills, and sustain their businesses. Instead of following the program’s intent, the previous administration spirited funds away to bigger, more well-connected businesses. I appreciate these actions by the Biden Administration to restore the program’s original intent and equitably distribute relief funds so that communities of color are not left behind. This is a step toward saving small businesses and why more relief efforts like the American Rescue Plan are so important to our recovery.”
Previous research demonstrated that minority-owned businesses were often the last in line to receive needed recovery funds as larger businesses with existing banking relationships were able to get funds quicker. Rep. Grijalva has heard from numerous constituents about the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on border communities with border closures exacerbating the already dire economic situation. Many of these are small minority-owned businesses that were unable to access previous PPP funds. Last month, he introduced the Border Business COVID-19 Rescue Act to establish $1 billion in Economic Injury Disaster Loans specifically for small businesses within 25 miles of the U.S.-Mexico or U.S.-Canadian border.
“Small border businesses are often minority-owned and rely heavily on the foot traffic and money of Mexican shoppers that are currently nonexistent under the continued border closures for nonessential business,” continued Rep. Grijalva. “We must continue ensuring that relief funds for these businesses are accessible, and I will continue working with Congressional leadership and the White House on ensuring their needs are met not only in existing relief efforts, but future ones as well.”