WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress holds hearings this week on the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in both the Senate and House, government watchdog Accountable.US encouraged lawmakers to keep building on the Biden administration’s promising revisions to the program to boost access to small businesses most in need, especially in communities of color. Accountable.US pointed to the extensive disparities it documented in the program during the Trump administration as areas Congress must not overlook. 

“The Biden administration put PPP on a better course towards helping small businesses inexcusably neglected during the health crisis, and now Congress must do its part to ensure access for historically marginalized communities,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Accountable.US. “While the PPP’s flaws under the previous administration were preventable, the good news is they are 100% fixable — so long as wealthy special interests aren’t allowed to dictate the terms.”

Since PPP became law as part of the CARES Act in March 2020, Accountable.US found grave issues under the Trump administration’s design and implementation of the program to which Congress must pay special attention:

  • Communities of Color Shut Out:
    • Congressional districts with the highest percentage of Black residents were shortchanged (report);
    • The 10 poorest congressional districts received over 56,600 fewer loans than the 10 wealthiest districts — amounting to a $13.3 billion gulf (report);
    • Black woman-owned businesses received disproportionately few loans (report); and
    • Businesses owned by American Indian and Alaska Native women got just 0.1% of funds. (report)
       
  • Shady Special Interests Given All Access Pass
    • Predatory payday lenders and debt collectors cashed in on over $580 million in loans (report);
    • Shady, multi-level marketing and direct selling companies received $100 million in funds despite false claims about COVID-19 treatments and a history of deceptive marketing (report);
    • More than $2.7 billion in went to well-off individuals with no employees (report).
       
  • Rich and Well-Connected Prioritized Over Those Truly In Need:
    • $725K in went to an anti-LGBTQ religious school with ties to former Second Lady Karen Pence (report);
    • Companies linked to six Trump Cabinet members got PPP loans (report);
    • Big, Texas-based companies received $42 million (report);
    • Trump and Kushner businesses got in loans (report); and
    • Publicly traded companies used funds to enrich their shareholders (report).

On Wednesday, the Senate Small Business Committee is holding a hearing on “Oversight of SBA’s COVID19 Relief Programs.” The following day, on Thursday, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will hold a hearing on “Rooting Out Fraud in Small Business Relief Programs.”

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