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Velazquez Hails Passage of Coronavirus Funding

Velázquez Hails Passage of Coronavirus Funding
March 4, 2020
Press Release
Bill Includes Small Business Loans Based on Velázquez Bill
Washington, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed bipartisan legislation (H.R. 6074) providing additional federal funds to address the coronavirus outbreak. The bill includes emergency loans to assist small businesses that suffer economic damage from the virus’ spread. Those measures, which would allow $7 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, are based on legislation Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) introduced last week with Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Grace Meng (D-NY). Velázquez is the Chair of the House Small Business Committee.
Under the bill passed today, the SBA could provide an estimated $7 billion in loans to help small businesses, nonprofit organizations and other entities, which have been impacted by financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, the bill provides $20 million to administer these loans. The following is Velázquez’s statement in support of the bill passed today.
“Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation. Aside from the public health impact, this outbreak also threatens grave economic damage. Already, economists have lowered global forecasts with the dimmest outlooks predicting a fall from nearly 3 percent to just 1 percent growth due to the uncertainty and disruptions inflicted by the virus.
“Small firms, in particular, can expect hardship from this public health crisis. From the local barber shop or neighborhood café to the innovative technology startup, a pandemic can mean fewer customers, supply chain disruption, and workforce reductions.
“As the coronavirus spreads, so, too does misinformation and alarm. Because of stigma and xenophobia, many Chinatown restaurants and stores in my city of New York were already feeling economic pain before even one person in the city tested positive for the virus.  Merchants in Chinatown have reported sales drops as large as 80%. 
“Provisions in this bill would mean all small businesses harmed by the virus could apply for emergency loans, with low interest rates, to help them meet financial obligations. Just as the SBA helps small firms get back on their feet after a hurricane, wildfire or earthquake, the agency can be critical to helping local economies recover from this public health crisis. 
“I want to thank Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowey for working to include these provisions, which are modeled on legislation I introduced late last week. I encourage a yes vote and I yield back.”