Washington, DC -- Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) today testified in front of the U.S. House Committee on Small Business on the urgent need to improve the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and support our state and local governments in New Jersey. Representative Sherrill shared the stories of local businesses in the 11th District that have not been able to access funding through the PPP, and counties in the district that need support as they fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Additional funds to the Paycheck Protection Program is only the first step — we must take the lessons learned and apply them now,” said Representative Sherrill. “I hear from companies daily — a Nutley florist who cannot find a lender, an engraving store in Little Falls who cannot find out the status of their loan, a yoga studio in Verona whose bank stopped taking applications. And the list goes on. It’s not sufficient to merely add more funding. We must make it easier for businesses to access these funds and live up to the intention of the program we created.”

Thank you, Chairwoman Velazquez, Acting Chair Evans, Ranking Member Chabot, and the Subcommittee for this opportunity. Thank you to my colleague, Representative Kim, for advancing New Jersey’s priorities on this subcommittee.

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As many of you know, New Jersey is one of the hardest hit states in the nation. Along with New York, we account for 45 percent of the cases nationwide.

So I’m grateful for the Committee’s work in helping our struggling small businesses face this unprecedented pandemic.

I testify today for New Jersey’s small businesses and towns as we continue development of future stimulus packages.

I want to highlight two key issues I’m seeing in New Jersey:

First, additional funds to the Paycheck Protection Program is only the first step — we must take the lessons learned and apply them now. I hear from companies daily — a Nutley florist who cannot find a lender, an engraving store in Little Falls who cannot find out the status of their loan, a yoga studio in Verona whose bank stopped taking applications. And the list goes on.

It’s not sufficient to merely add more funding. We must make it easier for businesses to access these funds and live up to the intention of the program we created. The $10,000 EIDL grants, promised within 3 days, are now only marginally available — devastating small businesses in NJ-11 and demoralizing owners, who are fighting to take care of their employees.

Second, we must ensure direct funding for smaller towns and counties. The CARES Act took the first step of providing funding for states and larger localities, but ignored counties like Morris in my district, which falls just under the population threshold to qualify for the funds. For more-rural Sussex County, COVID challenges are still resource-intensive. Direct funding is critical to keep the fight up for our constituents.

We must rectify this. We must support our county officials and mayors as they face unexpected budget shortfalls through no fault of their own, on top of the COVID-19 crisis. Local electeds from towns like Hopatcong and Chatham Township are incredibly concerned about revenue loss from sources like construction permits (which have already dropped off because of the SALT deduction cap), and an inability of residents to pay property taxes.

Thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to working with you on a bipartisan basis as we move forward on critical legislation. Thank you very much.