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Blunt, Hawley, Senators Urge Administration to Ensure Eligibility of Rural Electric Cooperatives in Paycheck Protection Program

April 24, 2020

WASHINGTON ­– Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging the U.S. Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to clarify that rural electric cooperatives are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created under the CARES Act to support small businesses and help them maintain payroll and cover expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.
While some lenders are approving PPP loans for electric cooperatives, others are refusing to do so without further guidance from the SBA.
“The CARES Act, and the Paycheck Protection Program in particular, was designed to provide support to small businesses across the country, many of which face significant challenges retaining employees, maintaining payroll, and covering daily expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is generally available to ‘any business concern’ that meets SBA size standards (as well as other eligible entities). Nearly all electric cooperatives are classified as “small” businesses under SBA’s size standards, with the average distribution cooperative employing under 50 people. As these electric co-ops face the same challenges as many other small businesses, we believe the Small Business Administration should ensure they are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program,” the senators wrote in a letter to Treasury and SBA.
Rural electric cooperatives provide affordable energy and broadband services to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses across Missouri.
Full text of the letter here and below:
The Honorable Steven Mnuchin
Secretary
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
The Honorable Jovita Carranza
Administrator
U.S. Small Business Administration
403 3rd Street, SW
Washington, DC 20416
Dear Secretary Mnuchin and Administrator Carranza:
We write to thank you for your work in implementing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and for supporting America’s small businesses as they work to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We ask that as you work to implement the Paycheck Protection Program, you ensure that rural electric cooperatives, as private corporate business concerns operating on a cooperative basis, will be considered eligible recipients under the program. Electric cooperatives are privately-owned businesses, formed by and for the benefit of the communities that they serve, primarily in rural America.
The CARES Act, and the Paycheck Protection Program in particular, was designed to provide support to small businesses across the country, many of which face significant challenges retaining employees, maintaining payroll, and covering daily expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is generally available to “any business concern” that meets SBA size standards (as well as other eligible entities). Nearly all electric cooperatives are classified as “small” businesses under SBA’s size standards, with the average distribution cooperative employing under 50 people. As these electric co-ops face the same challenges as many other small businesses, we believe the Small Business Administration should ensure they are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
As you develop the guidance, regulations, and application forms for implementing the Paycheck Protection Program and other provisions of the CARES Act, we request you ensure America’s electric cooperatives are deemed as qualifying business concerns and are able to fully participate and benefit as small businesses serving their local communities.

We appreciate your attention to this matter, and look forward to continuing to work with you to implement the CARES Act in a timely manner. Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff if you have any questions.


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