At a Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing on Wednesday, April 21, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) urged the nominee for deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration to correct issues that have prevented some newspapers and broadcasters from applying for critical assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program. She also urged the nominee to fix SBA financial documentation requirements that prevent many Tribes from securing SBA assistance.
Sen. Cantwell will be among the presenters next month during America's Newspapers Spring Conference — PIVOT 2021. During a talk scheduled for Tuesday, May 11, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, she will be discussing her legislative priorities for the news media. Learn more and register to take part.
A number of newspapers and some broadcasters who have applied for assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program have faced challenges. Some SBA authorized lenders have rejected PPP applications when newspapers or broadcasters owned by a larger entity apply separately but with the same EIN of their parent company or have faced other issues with SBA systems. Some applications are being held and others have been denied.
“Some of the applications [for newspapers and broadcasters] are being held … I hope that you would look at this and make sure that we're resolving these problems as it relates to newspapers [and broadcasters],” Cantwell said. She also called for funds to be set aside while SBA resolves technical issues.
Cantwell championed legislation that was passed in the December COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill that made local news outlets eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program. The provision made over 100 newspapers and broadcasting stations throughout Washington newly eligible for PPP funding, and more than 2,000 newspapers and 3,384 TV and radio stations newly eligible nationwide. For these loans to be forgiven, the local newspaper or broadcast station must spend at least 60% of the loan funds on payroll in order to keep journalists, newsroom workers and other essential employees on the job.
Some SBA authorized lenders have denied Paycheck Protection Program loans to some Native-owned small businesses because they cannot meet SBA lenders’ documentation requirements. These tribal businesses do not file tax returns because they do not have to under their treaty rights and do not have Employment Identification Numbers (EINs). Cantwell secured the nominee’s commitment to address and fix this issue for Tribes.