Tester Pushes for Local Commerce & Tourism Groups to be Eligible for Paycheck Protection Program

Senator joins bipartisan push to keep local non-profits afloat amid coronavirus crisis

Following the approval of critical pandemic relief funds last week, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is pushing to ensure local commerce and tourism non-profit groups are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Tester joined a bipartisan letter calling for non-profit organizations including local chambers of commerce and tourism groups—most of whom are helping their own members navigate the coronavirus crisis—to be eligible for the PPP so they can continue serving their members and be ready to help Montana recover from the economic effects of the outbreak.

“At this exceptionally difficult time, they are providing critical guidance and resources to help small businesses weather the current economic downturn,” Tester and his colleagues wrote. “Unfortunately, just like the small businesses they serve, many of these community leaders are now experiencing their own financial challenges. If these organizations are unable to survive, the path to recovery for our hard-hit Main Street economy will be even more difficult.”

Tester fought to improve the Paycheck Protection Program in the CARES Act—a critical lifeline intended to help small businesses keep the lights on.

Tester and his colleagues continued: “To help local 501(c)(6)s meet their current obligations and continue assisting small businesses in our communities, we endorse expanding access to the Paycheck Protection Program in forthcoming legislation.”

Tester has worked tirelessly to ensure the government response to the COVID-19 outbreak actually benefits the workers and small businesses it was intended to help. He fought to make sure Montana’s rural hospitals and casinos, bars, and taverns are eligible for the PPP, and secured an expansion of the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loan and Emergency Economic Injury Grant Programs to include Montana’s family farms and ranches.

After 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short for Montana, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding included $1.25 billion for the state of Montana, which was delivered to the state last week.

You can read Tester’s letter HERE.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak