This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the chairman of the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee, said the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped minority-owned small businesses in Florida and across the nation.
Rubio was one of the key shapers of the PPP, part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress and approved by the White House at the end of March. At the end of July, Rubio introduced the “Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act,” expanding PPP by $60 billion.
On Tuesday night, Rubio took part in the LIBRE Initiative’s Hispanic Heritage Month video series, talking to Myrka DeLlanos about the PPP.
Rubio told DeLlanos that PPP has helped minority-owned small businesses across the country and in his South Florida home base.
“I still live in West Miami, Florida and when I get to the end of my street, I make a right turn and less than a quarter of a mile, as I get to the intersection of 62nd Avenue and Southwest 8th Street, all around me on a 360-degree radius is small business after small business. Dry cleaners, beauty salons, smaller grocery stores, the convenience stores inside a gas station or cafeteria, in many cases these are family-owned and operated small businesses where three generations have invested all they have into it and they have been devastated. That’s who I thought about when I thought about PPP,” Rubio said.
“My number one concern is, how do we keep people who work there still working or employed in some capacity,” Rubio continued. “And number two is how do we help these businesses survive until we get through this. And so we’ve never had anything like PPP before. And the notion was that people could go out and they could get a grant basically up to 250 percent or two-and-a half times of their payroll. Small businesses would have to use 60 percent of it to pay their workers and the other 40 percent to pay their rent and so forth. And look, PPP doesn’t replace an economy that’s working but it helps them at least stay above water.
“I think we need to do more of it. Look, that’s not something I would normally support. It’s not the kind of program you need during normal times, but the government is what’s not allowing these businesses to work, to operate. Government restrictions are what’s doing this to them, so the government has a duty then to compensate them for the rate of their property rights. And very much it’s like a taking, an imminent domain, it’s something being done for the public good by the government but it’s harming private business and private property rights,” Rubio added.
Rubio also focused on Hispanic small business owners.
“Let me just say to everybody, to the extent that you can, please continue to go to these small businesses and understand that they need you now more than ever. That’s what I would encourage people to do,” Rubio said before doubling down on his call for expanding the PPP.
“I believe that we desperately need to do more, another round of PPP. Not for everyone but really for small businesses who can prove they’ve lost revenue and I think that can be virtually any restaurant, cafeteria in America. But a lot of other businesses as well, to help them get through the end of this year and into the early part of next year. The sad part about all of this is that some of these small businesses were having their best year ever, and from one night to the next in March it just collapsed. So we’ve got to do more. And I hope that we can do it before the election and that politics doesn’t get in the way, we should have done it two months ago. We’re ready to go. There’s not a day that goes by, including Sundays, that I don’t do something to try to get that second round of PPP done. And we have a lot of support for it, I hope that we have an opportunity to do it fairly soon,” Rubio said.
Rubio also weighed in being one of the most successful Hispanics in American politics.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” Rubio said. “When I think of Hispanic Heritage, I think of what it means for America. This is a country where people from all over the world have come here, under different circumstances, and have been able to achieve dreams. Sufficient to say, I’m not sure there’s any other country in the world that my parents could have gone to where I could have ended up somewhere like the U.S. Senate. But I think that’s the same for people that succeed in entertainment, sports, business, or whatever it may be. I think it’s really a testament to the country, as well as to the contributions that Hispanic Americans have made to this country and continue to make and will make in years to come.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.