Kilmer Votes to Provide Support for WA Small Businesses and Frontline Workers, Increase Testing Capacity

Thursday last week, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) voted to support the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to deliver additional assistance to Washington’s small businesses and frontline health care workers, while investing in the nation’s testing capacity.

The legislation provides $310 billion for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees and keep them on the payroll. To ensure access to this assistance for many small businesses in underserved rural and urban areas, the new funding sets aside $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions, and $30 billion for medium-sized banks and credit unions.

The legislation also expands small business support beyond the PPP program by securing $50 billion for SBA disaster lending, translating into more than $350 billion in loans, and $10 billion for SBA disaster grants.

“The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to help main street employers in our region keep folks on payroll and ensure working families have the support they need.  Today’s action is about making an investment in our small businesses and in jobs,” said Rep. Kilmer. “But there’s more work to do. I’ll keep fighting for main street employers and workers as we work to contain the spread of the coronavirus and rebuild our economy.”

In addition, the legislation provides $75 billion for hospitals and health care workers, which can be used to meet such needs as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and provides $25 billion to expand COVID-19 testing.

“If this is, as the President has said, a ‘war against a hidden enemy,’ then our frontline health care workers are our soldiers,” said Rep. Kilmer. “America should never let our soldiers go to war without the equipment they need. This bill will ensure the federal government steps up to deliver more PPE, support our health care providers, and increase testing capacity, so we can save lives and eventually take steps to re-open the economy”

Earlier this month, Rep. Kilmer introduced bipartisan legislation to significantly expand the PPP to ensure that every qualified small business is able to access the critical assistance they need to retain their workforce and cover basic operating costs for the full duration of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.

Rep. Kilmer has also called for the President to develop a federal strategy to dramatically increase the production and availability of testing for COVID-19.

Source: The Suburban Times