Hoeven, Smith Lead 41 Additional Senators in Pressing Treasury, SBA to Ensure Eligibility of Rural Electric Cooperatives in Paycheck Protection Program

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Tina Smith (D-MN) led a bipartisan group of Senators in urging the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to clarify that rural electric cooperatives are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support small businesses and help them maintain payroll and cover during expenses the pandemic.

Rural electric cooperatives have been seeking guidance from the SBA clarifying their inclusion in the Paycheck Protection Program, given that some lenders across the country are approving loans for electric cooperatives, while other lenders are waiting on 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.

Click here to read the full letter.

In addition to Hoeven and Smith, the letter was also signed by 41 other Senators: Joni Ernst, Chris Van Hollen, Thom Tillis, Sherrod Brown, Roy Blunt, Patrick Leahy, Kevin Cramer, Amy Klobuchar, Ted Cruz, Debbie Stabenow, Roger Wicker, Michael Bennet, John Boozman, Catherine Cortez Masto, Steve Daines, Mazie K Hirono, Chuck Grassley, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jerry Moran, Gary Peters, James Inhofe, Bernie Sanders, John Cornyn, Ron Wyden, Cory Gardner, Joe Manchin, Lindsey Graham, Jacky Rosen, Lisa Murkowski, Kyrsten Sinema, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Jon Tester, James Lankford, Dan Sullivan, John Barrasso, Tim Scott, Josh Hawley, Mike Crapo, Mike Enzi, Martha McSally and Marsha Blackburn.