Nebraska small businesses can again apply for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP has already provided nearly $3 billion in loans to support thousands of businesses and their employees across our state. With Congress providing an additional $310 billion for this program last week, more Nebraskans will now have access to this valuable program, which is keeping so many small businesses in our communities open.
Because many Nebraskans have strong relationships with their community banks, our state leads the nation in loans approved per capita. If you are looking for more information regarding the PPP loan process, please visit here and speak with your local financial provider.
Rural Hospitals NOW Included in PPP Loans
In rural America, public hospitals are vital to their communities, and they are often the largest employers in the area. However, in the initial rollout of the Paycheck Protection Program, these hospitals were not eligible to apply for loans to help pay their health care workers. During conversations with President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, I advocated strongly for taking steps to extend relief to these health care facilities. I want to thank the administration for listening to my recommendation. This change will benefit many of the hospitals across Nebraska and the United States working so hard during this pandemic.
Looking Ahead to Reopen Our Economy
COVID-19 has caused serious economic strain for many Nebraska families and businesses. I am proud to have the opportunity to represent Nebraskans on President Trump’s task force on reopening our economy, a bipartisan group of members of Congress. By working together, I believe we can develop first steps to begin getting everyone back to work while protecting the safety of our fellow Americans.
Protecting the Food Supply Chain
Americans are working hard up and down the food supply chain to keep the nation fed. Unfortunately, many of these people are facing hard times right now. Recently, we have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases among workers at meatpacking plants. While I appreciate President Trump’s effort to keep these plants open, we must establish strong precautions to protect workers.
A challenge facing Nebraska ag producers is payment limits in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Many family-owned farms and ranches will not receive the full amount of assistance they need due to commodity limits set by the USDA. This is why my colleagues and I sent a letter to the president asking him to eliminate these payment limits for livestock, dairy, and specialty crop producers, and use funds in the CARES Act to assist them.
Helping Ethanol Producers Through this Crisis
Our biofuel industry has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. I joined a bipartisan call to request that USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue allocate additional funding to ethanol producers through the Commodity Credit Corporation. In the CARES Act, $14 billion was added to the CCC to help stabilize and support farm income and prices. The renewable fuel industry is crucial to our state’s economy, and this funding should help these plants stay open. I will continue to update you on the steps I am taking to support our state’s ethanol producers.
There is no denying that we still find ourselves in tough times, but crisis always brings out the best in Nebraskans. Please reach out to my office if you need assistance. Like always, we will get through this together. Stay safe.
-Senator Deb Fischer