Representative Malinowski Testifies Before House Small Business Committee Demanding Significant Reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program

April 23, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, DC) Today, Representative Tom Malinowski testified before the House Small Business Committee to demand significant reforms to the Paycheck Protection Program. Watch a video of the remarks here.

“Thank you, Chairwoman Velazquez, Ranking Member Chabot, for the opportunity to testify about the Paycheck Protection Program.

“The PPP is an important, necessary program to keep businesses alive and employees on the payroll. But I don’t need to tell you that the rollout of this program in many parts of the county has been a disaster.   

I've been in close touch with small business owners in my district, and it is difficult to fully capture the level of fear, frustration, and uncertainty that they are feeling right now. They’re also just plain ticked off when they read that a national steakhouse chain made off with $20 million; that favored bank customers who didn’t need help nearly as much as they did, got concierge service while they wait on hold for hours, day after day, hoping for some small piece of news.

I am delighted that we are setting aside money for community banks now. But I am livid that the Senate and the Administration refused to consider a single change to the program to ensure that banks treat all of their customers with equal respect.

I am angry that some of us were accused of playing politics because we wanted to fix this program before pumping money into it. We all know it’s going to need more money again soon—and I believe it should be fully funded for the duration of the crisis. But let’s do better than that.

Before we add more money to PPP, let’s add rules that prevent big companies with access to other capital from gobbling up loans that should be going to truly small businesses. Let’s create a dedicated pot of money for those truly small businesses so the bagel shop, the laundromat, the flower shop with four or five employees isn’t competing against companies with four or five hundred. 

Let’s add stronger eligibility requirements to ensure the program is only open to businesses actually at risk of going under. And I wish it went without saying- but big banks should not be writing the rules here- we should be. The banks have to be made to understand that they have been drafted—just like soldiers in a war are drafted—for this purpose. They are agents of the American people acting in our interest, not their own. And if that hasn’t been made clear enough, it’s on us to make it so.

We are in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. How we respond will decide whether the economy of the early 2020s will look like that of the early 1930s.  Small businesses are digging deep. And to do right by their employees, the rest of us need to step up and have their backs.

Thank you, Madame Chair.”