New York’s senior U.S. Senator was in the North Country Friday. During a stop in Peru, south of Plattsburgh, he met with local business owners to discuss what he says is the need for more federal pandemic relief.
The opportunity for small businesses to obtain a PPP loan has ended and money has run out for Emergency Injury Disaster Loans known as EIDL. Senator Charles Schumer sat under an open air pavilion at Rulfs Orchards in Peru to discuss with a few business owners their experiences with obtaining federal coronavirus relief. The Democratic Minority Leader wants a new extended version of the Paycheck Protection Program passed. “We can’t stand idly by while businesses like these and thousands of others are struggling to stay alive. The P4 legislation allows them to apply for a second round and for those who didn’t get it the first time it reopens it up so they can apply again into 2021. The PPP program’s initial launch in many places didn’t work well. But it’s gotten much better. It’s now easier and in the second round we’re going to keep the big boys out. They never should have got in to begin with.”
Schumer’s P4, or Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program, is one part of a two-pronged approach that he says is vital for small business. “The second part is what’s called EIDL. The EIDL program gives additional advance grants and loans just straight out. And we’re asking for $180 billion of that, $100 billion for loans and $80 billion for grants. It’s been a lifeline in New York. I spoke to our small business people. They desperately need these.”
But Schumer also acknowledges there is still gridlock in Washington that could prevent passage of the measures. “I am going to do everything I can to get this passed. There are a group of 20 Republican Senators who want no money for anything. Not for state and local money, not for opening schools, not for testing. They want no money. That’s their ideology. But we’re trying to overcome that and I think we will.”
Rulfs Orchard Office Manager Amanda Whisher is the granddaughter of the founder of the business. She says the federal PPP program was critical to keep the business operating. “When things started shutting down in April we had already fully committed to planting our own flowers. We have seven greenhouses here. So we had already been in production for 30 days. So we were panicking. What are we going to do if our employees can’t be here? What if we have to shut down? Luckily we were able to stay open and we did apply for the PPP. That was a huge thing for us. We were able to keep 20 employees on staff. At this point we’re up to 40 employees and it’ll only go up from here as we enter our busy season. So we are grateful for the PPP and if another round did come out we would absolutely apply again.”
Schumer was also in Ogdensburg Friday, where he promoted legislation to reverse recent changes made by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and restore services.