Sen. Bennet Introduces Legislation to Help Tribal Businesses Access PPP Loans
Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced a bill earlier this month that would permit businesses with the same Employer Identification Number (EIN) to submit loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a rule change that would make it easier for tribal businesses to access loans through the PPP program passed as part of the CARES Act in March.
“Our tribal businesses have unique structures and needs that should be recognized in the way we provide assistance,” Bennet said. “Right now, many have struggled to gain access to their fair share of PPP funding, and we cannot afford to let these businesses fall by the wayside.”
Though the PPP was designed to prioritize minority-owned businesses, data from The Durango Herald reported in July that only five tribal businesses received loans less than $150,000, out of the 132 loans that the Small Business Administration (SBA) provided information on.
“Like a lot of tribal businesses that have been denied an SBA loan simply because they operate under a single Employer Identification Number, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and its many businesses have been similarly impacted,” said the tribe in a statement, according to an article from The Journal highlighting the proposed legislation.
Additionally, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe noted that Tribes have limited taxing authority, and many handle multiple tribal businesses to earn more revenue for the tribal government.
Policymakers are currently discussing the terms of a second COVID-19 relief package, which could include additional funding for the PPP program. The PPP was largely criticized for requiring businesses to spend their loan in eight weeks to get partial forgiveness, and although that term was changed, it was after many businesses had spent most of their loan.
“We appreciate Sen. Bennet’s efforts to address this disparity to make sure that tribal businesses receive the same treatment as non-Indian businesses during this economic crisis,” said the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.