On Thursday, February 4, the House Small Business Committee held a hearing: "The State of the Small Business Economy in the Era of COVID-19." NAR sent a letter to the Committee, thanking it for its work in support of small businesses during the pandemic, and urging continued action to provide greater relief to the commercial real estate sector.
Specifically, NAR asked for continued support for the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program and its Economic Injury Disaster Loans, emphasizing the need for them to be simple to access by small business owners and efficiently administered. In addition, NAR asked that Congress reconsider the Main Street Lending Facility, created by the CARES Act. This lending program was intended to help businesses that may qualify for PPP loans but need more assistance, or who do not meet all of the SBA program size standards but are still being impacted by the pandemic. Unfortuantely, due to high minimum loan requirements and low lender participation, it has not lived up to expectations, and billions of dollars in funding for it remain unused. Reconfiguring the program so that funding gets released to the businesses that are hurting the most - and that will be so important to the economic recovery once the pandemic is over - should be a priority for Congress.