Florida’s Senators Offer Different Takes on How to Reform PPP

Florida’s two Republicans in the U.S. Senate–Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–offered different takes on reforming Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) after the Trump administration released information on companies that received loans of $150,000 or more.

Rubio, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, praised the PPP after the administration released the information on the loans on Monday.

“Today, the administration has provided much-needed transparency to the American people on the Paycheck Protection Program,” Rubio said on Monday. “We know PPP has been a historic lifeline for more than 4.8 million small businesses. It is clear that financial damage from the pandemic will continue to impact small businesses even as the economy re-opens.

“To meet these changing conditions, PPP and additional long-term recovery capital must be the priority for the next relief package,” Rubio continued. “I will continue to work with my colleagues on the small business task force to reach a bipartisan agreement on a targeted second round of PPP for underserved firms and additional resources for long-term resiliency.”

Scott slammed some of the recipients of the PPP loans on Tuesday.

“The data shows loans went to a range of businesses and organizations, including lobbying firms, law firms and high-dollar hedge funds, political groups, including the Florida Democratic Party, private schools, news organizations and big restaurant chains, as well as a chain of luxury restaurants and boutique hotels co-owned by Robert De Niro,” Scott’s office noted.

Scott said the released information shows the PPP needs major reforms.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has helped so many businesses in Florida and across the nation stay afloat during this unimaginable time, but for months, I’ve called for reforms to the program to make sure taxpayer money goes to those who truly need it. I sounded the alarm about businesses with thousands of employees finding loopholes to qualify for these loans meant for small businesses. I was also concerned about companies that were seeing no downturn in their business taking money meant for those suffering during the pandemic. Now, we can clearly see the abuse. Businesses and organizations that didn’t need taxpayer money took it simply because they could,” Scott said on Tuesday.

“Just last week, I proposed an amendment to the PPP program to make sure that these loans only go to businesses that show a substantial reduction in revenue due to the coronavirus. Common sense, right? Not to my Democrat colleagues who rejected it. Too many in Washington believe that government waste is inevitable – it’s just the cost of doing business. I don’t accept that. This is taxpayer money, and we can’t afford to waste it. We can’t allow a government bailout of huge corporations and we can’t accept that taxpayer money is going to businesses that haven’t been hurt by this crisis. We have to step up and fight for reform and to make sure those individuals and small businesses hurt by the coronavirus are getting the help they need. I am also calling on the Treasury Department and SBA to release the full list of PPP loan recipients so we can see exactly where taxpayer money is going,” Scott added.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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