Last week the government’s Payment Protection Program (PPP) came under fire after major corporations received millions in COVID-19 relief while small businesses were denied any federal aid. Now, Black government officials are calling for more to be done in the area of small Black-owned businesses receiving financial help just as the major corporations have.
Black Enterprise reports that Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and members of the Congressional Black Caucus are calling for the Treasury Department to compile racial data in regards to which businesses and corporations are receiving PPP funds.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley believes racial data is needed to make sure the $349 billion issued by the government via the CARES Act is being allocated fairly.
“I’m pushing for that racial data collection when it comes to who the lenders are lending to. That which gets measured gets done,” Pressley told Basic Black. “And so having that data and that transparency in real-time will allow us to course correct. It will likely offer sobering confirmation of a lack of (parity) of loans and grants to minority small businesses.”
Rep. Pressley is not alone in her fight for racial PPP data. Black Enterprise reports Sen. Kamala Harris and other members have “have been aggressively lobbying Sec. [Steven] Mnuchin to give greater transparency” in regards to the dispersal of funds.
Rep. Pressley is prepared to continue to fight for a fund pool to be set aside for businesses owned by people of color.
“Our minority businesses don’t need loans, they need grants. I’m going to be fighting for grants,” she said.
In the meantime, Rep. Pressley is still pushing for small Black businesses to apply for all COVID-19 relief funding.