Hoeven, Smith: Rural Electric Cooperatives Eligible for Paycheck Protection Program Under New Treasury Guidance

Senators Led Senate Colleagues in Working with Administration to Provide PPP Support for Rural Electric Cooperatives

WASHINGTON – Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Tina Smith (D-MN) released the following statement regarding the U.S. Treasury Department’s guidance clarifying that rural electric cooperatives with less than 500 employees are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Earlier this month, Hoeven and Smith led a bipartisan group of Senators in urging the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support rural electric cooperatives and ensure their access to the PPP, 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. Click here to read the Senators’ letter. 

“The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help small businesses and their employees weather this public health emergency,” said Senator Hoeven. “We appreciate the Administration, in particular Deputy Secretary Justin Muzinich and his staff, for working with us to ensure that rural electric cooperatives are eligible to receive PPP funding. Rural electric cooperatives provide vital services in their communities, which is why we worked to provide them with this support during these challenging times.” 

“I pushed the Treasury Department to make this important change because rural electric cooperatives are central to the well-being of the communities they serve,” said Sen. Smith. “Rural electric coops—like so many businesses, families, and health care systems right now—are struggling, and I’m glad that this will make it possible for them to access the Paycheck Protection Program and keep their workers on payroll. This is welcome news for so many rural electric coops in Minnesota.”

“Electric cooperatives face immediate, significant and growing economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic,” said Jim Matheson, CEO at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “This clarification is vital for electric cooperatives that are looking to the Paycheck Protection Program for support as they work to keep the lights on and provide local families and businesses with certainty in an uncertain time. We thank Senators Hoeven, Smith, and many of their colleagues for their instrumental role in securing this needed clarity.” 

Hoeven and Smith’s letter was also signed by 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.