North Dakota’s Senior U.S. Senator John Hoeven joined Good Day Dakota to discuss the additional stimulus package signed into law by President Trump on Friday April, 21st,
The nearly $500 billion package allocates the majority of the funds into the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a part of the historic federal CARES Act. It’s designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll during the economic downturn.
Due to high demand, the funds ran out in less than a month. The original nearly $350 billion dollars set aside for the PPP was exhausted on April 16th.
U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer told KX News that roughly $1.5 billion dollars was loaned to 11 thousand businesses in North Dakota as of April 23rd.
There is already a back-log of PPP applications in North Dakota. Lawmakers encourage small businesses, including farmers and ranchers, to apply as soon as possible to get ahead of the curve.
In addition to PPP funding Hoeven worked with other lawmakers to secure $16.2 million dollars toward COVID-19 the state of North Dakota.
Hoeven explained that testing is critical to getting North Dakota’s economy back up and running.
“You know testing is really key in terms of opening back up because again we still do the social distancing and all those things, and Governor Burgum has a done a very good job of keeping everything open as we can as we shelter in place. But, now as we increasingly open the economy, we still do the social distancing, but if there is a breakout somewhere you have to have that testing like we saw with the Wind Blade plant in Grand Forks where you can go in and make sure you address it. So, that’s what the funding for testing is all about,” explained Hoeven.
Additionally, as a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Hoeven made the case to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the importance of providing oil and gas producers with access to credit through the 13(3) lending program.
Hoeven spearheaded a bipartisan legislation to provide $3 billion to purchase domestic oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR,) for which Hoeven noted will help with market demand.
“So, first we had to end the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and others that was putting downward prices on oil because of the COVID-19 virus. Now we have to make sure the President use his section 232 powers so we don’t have people dumping into our market undermining our industry,” explained Hoeven.
Other key aspects to the legislation include ensuring North Dakota’s independent oil and gas producers access to credit under the 13(3) lending program, and stopping foreign producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia from flooding the U.S. market.
“That would be good for us not only because it would purchase oil for our reserve helping with that demand issue, but it’s good for national security and it’s very good for tax payers because it comes in at a low price and you can sell it at a higher price,” said Hoeven.
Hoeven’s ended by saying priority number one is defeating COVID-19 and safely getting the economy going again.