03.25.21

Lankford Offers Solution for Oklahoma Small Businesses, Opposes Loans to Planned Parenthood

Lankford on PPP fix: “These are not our mega-businesses. These are our backbone small businesses. This is the truck driver in Oklahoma. This is the piano teacher in Oklahoma.”

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s remarks.

CLICK HERE to download Lankford’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor in support of his amendment to a bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through May 31, 2021. Lankford’s amendment would allow Schedule C filers, including sole proprietor small businesses, who already received PPP loans to be covered under new Small Business Administration (SBA) rules regarding income calculations.

Although the amendment was not adopted, Lankford also filed the language as a standalone bill, and if it becomes law, borrowers will be able to work with lenders to retroactively receive the remaining balance under the expanded calculation. Per an agreement reached with the chairman of the Small Business Committee, Lankford’s bill will likely be included in the negotiations between the House and Senate in the next few weeks.

Lankford also cosponsored an amendment to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funds under PPP and has actively participated in the ongoing investigation of why Planned Parenthood received funds in the first place. Lankford also stood for life in his amendments to the recent Democrat-pushed “COVID” bill. It is important to ensure the Department of Justice and Small Business Administration prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving funds they are eligible for, but not at the expense of the many nonprofits, including pregnancy centers, who have applied for support during the pandemic through PPP.

The PPP Extension Act passed the Senate by a vote of 92-7, to which Lankford responded with the following:

“Today’s action to extend PPP through the end of May 2021 is good news for Oklahoma small businesses and nonprofits still trying to make ends meet as the pandemic continues. I offered an amendment that would allow certain filers, like sole proprietors, who already received PPP loans to be covered under new SBA rules for income calculations so they can work with their lenders to retroactively receive the remaining balance. It’s important that we make this change for affected small businesses.

I also cosponsored an amendment to protect federal tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood and will continue to press the Small Business Administration and Department of Justice to investigate loans that Planned Parenthood wrongfully received.

Transcript from Lankford’s Floor Remarks on His Amendment

There is a problem with the Paycheck Protection Program, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support last December, but the implementation has been botched.

Let me explain what I mean. If you're a small business owner, if you're an individual that is a sole proprietor of what's called a Schedule C, you had major issues in trying to be able to cover your employment last year, you would turn in, make a request for the Paycheck Protection Program. It was extended in December of last year for only the hardest hit businesses, those that had a 25 percent loss or more. Those businesses could not survive into the next year, so we extended it out and allowed them to be able to get additional time and an additional couple of months of payroll to be able to make sure they make it. For these extremely small businesses, these sole proprietors, these individuals that are out there, this means just them or sometimes them and one other person that they're actually covering expenses for.

These are not our mega-businesses. These are our backbone small businesses. This is the truck driver in Oklahoma. This is the piano teacher in Oklahoma. These are folks that are actually trying to be able to make a living the best way they know how. When it was passed in December, the small business administration interpreted that rule to say you could only use your net expenses for that, your net expenses. Then in March the Small Business Administration reinterpreted that and said, ‘No, you could use your gross expenses on that.’

For a lot of folks they would say: what's the difference on that? The difference is usually about $5,000 or $10,000. That's an enormous difference, and for some folks in this room $5,000 or $10,000 may not be very much, but it's a lot for that truck driver and piano teacher.

The logical thing for the Small Business Administration to do would be to say, ‘Okay, we changed the rule in March from what it was earlier, so let's make it retroactive that folks that applied early, the most desperate folks could actually still get the difference.’ But that's not what happened. The Small Business Administration said, ‘No, if you received the loan earlier, you received a smaller amount. If you waited and applied later, you'd get the larger amount.’ Exact same type of business, exact same situation, but basically the Small Business Administration said this is too complicated to go back and redo this, and so we'll just allow folks that applied early, the most desperate, to get the least and folks that applied later to get more.

We're bringing an amendment that would just fix that and would allow the folks that applied early, the most desperate folks, to be able to get the help, to be able to get the same level of help as the folks that applied later. So, madam president, I ask unanimous consent that it be in order for me to offer my amendment 1402.

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