Stevens Shares PPP Frustrations with SBA, Treasury Department

May 13, 2020
Press Release
Some small business owners in Michigan’s 11th District are concerned by aspects of the emergency lending program.

WASHINGTON — This week, Congresswoman Haley Stevens (MI-11) sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Administrator of the Small Business Administration Jovita Carranza to urge the Trump Administration to make the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) more transparent and highlight the difficulties that business owners in Michigan’s 11th District have had navigating the program.

As of May 10th, the Small Business Administration (SBA) had approved more than 4,000,000 PPP loans for businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, but some businesses in Michigan’s 11th District have expressed frustrations about the lack of clarity around the eight-week forgiveness period and flexibility businesses have to use PPP funds they receive.

In the letter, Congresswoman Stevens called on the Administration to share more information about these roadblocks so more small businesses can benefit from the program. Congresswoman Stevens also shared testimonials from constituents in Plymouth, Birmingham, and Canton who are having trouble navigating the PPP requirements.

“As applicants have begun to receive award notification and PPP loan allocations, many are beginning to weigh the benefits of participating given constraints around duration and flexibility,” Congresswoman Stevens wrote. “I write today to encourage more transparency, given the lack of available information, and for your offices to work more directly with employers and employees looking to benefit from the nearly $700B of spend that has gone to PPP.”

The full text of the letter can be found here or below.


“Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza, 

It has come to my attention that small business owners in my district are facing significant obstacles in benefitting from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

While respective authorities of administration and appropriation continue to address the PPP’s statutory constraints, I urge the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration to reconcile impediments to this program for small businesses.

As applicants have begun to receive award notification and PPP loan allocations, many are beginning to weigh the benefits of participating given constraints around duration and flexibility. I write today to encourage more transparency, given the lack of available information, and for your offices to work more directly with employers and employees looking to benefit from the nearly $700B of spend that has gone to PPP.  

I have included for you testimonials from small business owners in my district that demonstrate some of the roadblocks being experienced at the local level:

“We applied for and received a PPP loan/grant and we’re grateful to get the money but we don’t know how to use it within the 8 week timeframe. We know that our restaurant will be closed for at least six of the eight weeks and will reopen at 25% to 50% capacity so we’re not sure how we can use it in the allotted timeframe for allowable, forgivable uses. It is also hard to use the money without any certainty about the terms because, given our financial situation, we don’t want to have to repay it. We need clear guidance from the federal government about the terms of the PPP in order to be able to decide if we can use it.” - Jim, Plymouth

“It should be structured to allow us to pay our rent and then bring our staff back when appropriate. At that time, we will need startup funds and the PPP money still used for salary would be of greater value.” - Jonathan, Birmingham 

“Unless we get some type of major financial relief immediately – mainly rent relief – we won’t ever be opening back up so there is no planning necessary. Our landlord has been very clear that we are all 100% expected to pay our April rent and all rent going forward. And, until we do pay all of our rent up to date, in full, we will not be allowed to continue to conduct business.” - Laurel, Canton 

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you or your staff the ongoing challenges with this program as a federally elected representative in southeastern Michigan and as a former Treasury official who served during the last economic crisis. I am aware of the daunting challenges you face and the importance of your stewardship for our nation at this hour. Thank you for your service to the American people. I can be reached at (734) 853-3040, and would be delighted to discuss these issues more in-depth with you or one of your lieutenants.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.”

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