Tester Announces Emergency Economic Assistance Declaration for All 56 Montana Counties

Senator: “I’m going to keep fighting to make sure Washington doesn’t leave rural America behind”

After an aggressive push on behalf of Montana small businesses, U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that the Small Business Administration (SBA) today declared an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for all 56 Montana counties in response to the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which will provide much-needed economic support for Montana’s main street businesses.

Earlier this week, Tester announced that the SBA declared a disaster in only 30 Montana counties.

“I’m glad the SBA expanded their declaration to include our entire state, because we need to provide relief to Main Street businesses in every corner of Montana as soon as possible,” said Tester. “Small businesses are the backbone of our rural communities and the lifeblood of our state, so we’ve got to make sure they have the resources they need to keep the wolf away from the door. I’m going to keep fighting to make sure Washington doesn’t leave rural America behind in the face of this outbreak.”

Under the Tester-backed Phase I COVID-19 legislative package signed into law in early March, the SBA can issue an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration, which makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas to provide relief from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

Tester has led the charge in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. He has introduced legislation-now law-to guarantee testing for the virus will be at zero cost, and he passed bipartisan legislation through the Senate to ensure veterans GI benefits are protected during the outbreak. He has also doubled down on his efforts to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to provide veterans, VA healthcare staff, and Tribes with access to proper resources and information.