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Capital Region News

Schumer Pushes Second PPP Program

NY US Senator Chuck Schumer in Greene County at Field Goods in Athens.
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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NY US Senator Chuck Schumer in Greene County at Field Goods in Athens.

For the 22nd year in a row, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has visited all 62 New York counties.Schumer, the Democratic minority leader who could still wind up majority leader next year, spoke at Field Goods in Athens, pushing for a COVID relief package to give New York's small business owners a second fully forgivable loan under the Paycheck Protection Program.

"I know the struggles of business people, and it's worse now 'cause of COVID. It's put so many burdens on them that businesses here in the Capital Region have gone out of business or are in danger of going out of business, and we have to stop it.

Schumer says he's pushing the Heroes Small Businesses Lifeline Act as part of the larger COVID package.

Schumer says a second round of PPP loans will give small businesses and non-profits with fewer than 200 employees access to funds worth 250 percent of monthly payroll costs, up to a maximum of $2 million dollars. Sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed people who have experienced pandemic-related losses are also eligible.

"The situation here in the Capital Region is stark. And according to the New York State Department of Labor, the Albany-Schenectady-Troy MSA, which includes Greene County, private sector jobs fell over 10 percent last year."

Field Goods CEO Michael Waterman says Schumer's role in getting PPP loans out is a critical one at this time.

"Pre-COVID Field Goods delivered to about 1,500 to 2,000 individuals a week, delivering to about 600 locations that were pick-up sites for those individuals, so we did no home delivery. And when COVID hit, we essentially knew that all pick-up sites were going go close and we would have no business. Within one week's time, and thank you to the PPP and all the other aid that has been given to small businesses, we were able to pivot, essentially convert to entirely home delivery, felt like overnight, and without your program I would say that we would have a business that was very different and one that I don't even want to imagine."

Schumer says the legislation would shore up what he calls " a critical need for federal support" to revive the Capital Region's economy.

"So this is money in the pockets of these businesses which will then pay their workers, pay their rent, pay their utilities, and keep going. And God willing a year from now this crisis will be much less, much less virulent than it is today, because of the vaccine. So we have to get this passed. We need to send a lifeline to our small businesses."

Schumer is in line to become Senate Majority Leader in 2021 depending on the outcome of two runoff elections in Georgia in January.

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