U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, is continuing to listen to the needs of small businesses throughout Iowa, and in turn, fighting to get them the relief they need. After hearing from several rural electric cooperatives in Iowa waiting on confirmation of their eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Senator Ernst is working to ensure they are included in the popular relief program.
In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza, Ernst and her colleagues write, “We ask that as you work to implement the Paycheck Protection Program, you ensure that rural electric cooperatives, as private corporate business concerns operating on a cooperative basis, will be considered eligible recipients under the program. Electric cooperatives are privately-owned businesses, formed by and for the benefit of the communities that they serve, primarily in rural America.”
The letter continues, “The program is generally available to ‘any small business concern’ that meets SBA size standards (as well as other eligible entities). Nearly all electric cooperatives are classified as ‘small’ businesses under SBA’s size standards, with the average distribution cooperative employing under 50 people. As these electric co-ops face the same challenges as many other small businesses, we believe the Small Business Administration should ensure they are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Ernst has made it a priority to continue listening to and hearing from Iowans across the state, including small business owners. She has held several Q&A sessions with business owners, and has held a telephone town hall focused on small business relief. This week, the senator supported additional COVID-19 relief funding, which included more money for the PPP.