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Merkley Says Small Business Aid Program Needs Some Serious Help

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Chris Lehman
/
KLCC

A new program meant to help small businesses retain employees during the coronavirus pandemic is struggling to fulfill its mission, said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.

The assistance was included in the massive stimulus package approved by Congress last month. Small businesses are supposed to be able to apply for emergency loans through approved lenders, but many have experienced delays in getting their application approved.

During a video chat with small business owners Tuesday, Merkley called the roll-out of the “Paycheck Protection Program” a "nightmare."

“The applications are overwhelming the system," he said. "I’m really pushing the administration to get simplicity and clear guidance to the banks and credit unions, to make sure all who have said they want to participate be able to participate.”

Merkley and many members of Congress from both parties are pushing for more small business aid to be included in a future coronavirus stimulus package.

The video conference call was organized by the Corvallis-Benton County Economic Development agency.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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