More than 250,000 small businesses across the country have so far applied for COVID-19 relief funding support, according to a top official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Those applications, says Neil Bradley, executive vice-president with the Chamber, represent around $100 billion in loans.
The funding is coming through the Paycheck Protection Program, which was established and funded by the passage last month of the CAREs Act to help small businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Speaking before a National Small Business Town Hall web cast, Bradley noted that because of the loan application volume, the Chamber is asking Congress to approve some $250 billion in additional funding to keep millions of small businesses afloat during the crisis.
The group also wants to increase the $10 billion in relief grants that are currently available through the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
That $10 billion, given current circumstances, says Bradley, can support only about one million individual businesses and non-profits.
In a letter to the Congressional leadership, Bradley remarked: “We are sure you agree that no small business, non-profit, self-employed individual, or an independent contractor should be left behind simply because others have applied and received grants first.”
Discussions at the town hall meeting also emphasized that Paycheck Protection Program applicants should conduct their business only through a bank or an office of the Chamber, Service Corps of Retired Executives, or Small Business Administration, avoiding fraudsters who are asking for upfront money to process PPP applications.
By Garry Boulard
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