U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) released a proposal to prevent underserved and underbanked business owners, including minorities, women, and those in rural areas, from falling further behind during and after the COVID-19 economic crisis.
Cardin and Booker’s proposal comes days after the Small Business Administration Inspector General issued a report that found that SBA’s failure to issue guidance to prioritize underserved and rural markets in the Paycheck Protection Program “did not fully align” with the Congressional intent of the CARES Act.
“Many of the communities that have been most affected by the public health consequences related to COVID-19 are also the communities that will be the most harmed economically,” Cardin said. “It is clear that Congress must do more to prevent underserved and underbanked communities from falling further behind during our current economic crisis. Senator Booker’s and my proposal would make improvements to federal small business relief programs in order to make it easier for underserved small business owners to access the capital they need to survive COVID-19. Our proposal also addresses historical, systemic disparities in access to startup and operating capital, as well as technical training and mentorship, so underserved small businesses have the resources they need to adapt their businesses to the changes caused by COVID-19. Now is the time to make a targeted investment in those businesses and avoid the same mistakes from the past.”