National Urban League fights for PPP funding reform for small businesses

The well has run dry and not everyone has had chance to take a drink is the sentiment The National Urban League holds following the announcement of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has exhausted its funding.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, says the organization’s advocacy is essential for the next round of funding set to be approved by House politicians Thursday with $310 billion going to the PPP.

Marc Morial, National Urban League CEO and president, pushes Senate leaders to adjust for smaller business.

“Without our advocacy, the package would not include the $60 billion disaster loan fund or the funding for CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions) and small banks, Morial said. “We continue to advocate for desperately needed funding for local governments.”

The largest issue facing the first round of funding were loopholes in the guideline that larger, major chain corporations were able to exploit in order to receive funding. The eligibility standards for the PPP loans did not consider small business size standards based on gross sales but on the number of employees in an individual location leaving room for larger chains to apply by locations. The National Urban League has been heavily involved in this next round working on language that would better serve the community owned, smaller businesses through proper vetting based on gross income.

“We are in discussions with members of Congress and senior committee staff, including Senators Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Chris Van Holland, Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, and Rep. Maxine Waters,” Morial said in an interview with Black Enterprise.

Another issue Morial zeroed in on was a large portion of funding has gone businesses that continue to operate, such as construction companies, who were able to retain their workforce before the first wave of PPP funds whereas the business worst hit had already begun major layoffs to their staffing.

“The lifeblood of the communities we serve are the Main Street mom-and-pop establishments, like barbers and beauty shops, neighborhood cafes, and specialty services that may employ only a few dozen or fewer workers,” Morial said. “Those are the businesses we’re fighting to protect, and we expect Congress to protect them as well.”

Earlier this week the National Urban League addressed reports that massive chains and currently operating businesses received funding intended for small businesses that had to close due the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Struggling small businesses in the nation’s hardest-hit regions have not received a dime from the Paycheck Protection Program, intended for businesses with fewer than 500 employees, while hundreds of millions of dollars have gone to corporations that employ thousands, like Ruth’s Hospitality Group and Potbelly Corporation,” Morial said in a press release.

The bill for additional funding will be voted by the House Thursday with many reports suggesting that the $484 billion would be approved for not only small businesses but hospitals as well.

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