Last Friday, the CARES Act became law, and with it comes $2 trillion in support of Americans in response to COVID-19.
However, cooperatives may not be fully eligible to participate in SBA’s new Paycheck Protection Program, and we must move into action to ensure our worker co-ops businesses are supported during this crisis. A coalition of co-op leaders, led by our member and partner NCBA CLUSA, issued a letter this week urging the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) ensure that all cooperatives are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program created by last week’s CARES Act.
This program provides low-interest loans of up to $10 million—issued by private lenders and guaranteed by the SBA—that can then be forgiven if borrowers meet certain requirements. Currently, it is not clear how SBA will determine eligibility for cooperatives to participate. The SBA is expected to issue guidance on the Paycheck Protection Program on Friday, April 3, when loan applications may begin being processed. NCBA CLUSA will continue to monitor co-op eligibility and keep our members and stakeholders informed.
Now, we ask that you join us in calling your U.S. Senators and Representatives and ask them to weigh in today with SBA to ensure co-ops are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Here’s a short script (thanks PACA!)that you can use to express your support:
“Hi there. I am [name], a constituent in your district. I’m calling because [explain your connection to co-ops], and I want to be sure that co-ops are eligible to receive support through the Paycheck Protection Program. We are grateful that co-ops are now eligible for EIDLs, and the same eligibility should apply for this program. There are
more than 65,000 cooperative businesses in the United States facing the same economic hardships as other business models. Collectively, cooperatives generate more than $75 billion in annual wages. It is imperative that cooperative businesses are treated equally with other business structures and able to access the PPP. Can [Congressperson/Representative X] please ask SBA Administrator Carranza to ensure this vital support is in place for our businesses?”
The capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know which representatives you reached out to.