Rep. Axne Votes to Approve Emergency Funds for Iowa Small Businesses, Hospitals, Coronavirus Testing Capacity

April 23, 2020
Press Release
Bipartisan bill includes provision that Rep. Axne requested to reserve business loan funds for small community lenders

Today, Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) voted with a bipartisan majority in the House to pass emergency legislation that provides nearly $500 billion in additional coronavirus relief funding for Iowa small businesses, hospitals, and coronavirus (COVID-19) testing capacity.

The legislation, which now heads to the President’s desk to become law, also includes language to reserve a portion of new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for smaller community lenders. This provision was requested by Rep. Axne after hearing from local businesses and lenders about the difficulty of securing funds during conversations on her Virtual District Tour.

“By not only replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program, but also securing specific funds for Iowa’s community lenders, we can help keep our mom-and-pop shops and Main Street businesses afloat through these impossible economic circumstances,” said Rep. Axne. “I’ve heard from Iowans across my district who need this funding, but are also concerned about when and how we can begin to reopen our state. Without the funds in this bill for our health systems and testing capacity, we cannot responsibly chart a path to reopening Iowa that will keep our communities healthy and shielded from further outbreak.”

Funding within the legislation includes:

  • $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, bringing total authorized funding for the program to $659 billion, including:
    • $60 billion in new funds reserved for smaller financial institutions (FIs), half of which will go to FIs with less than $10 billion of assets, which includes the vast majority of Iowa’s banks
  • $50 billion of funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and $10 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loan grants to provide the advances on EIDL loans
  • $75 billion for grants and other funding measures for hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities
    • $225 million is included specifically for rural health clinics to address specific challenges like upgrading infrastructure to accommodate COVID-19 testing
  • $25 billion to expand capacity for research, development, manufacturing, and deployment of COVID-19 testing

The legislation also makes EIDL assistance explicitly available for agricultural small businesses with less than 500 employees, preventing them from being ineligible due to previous disaster loans.

With the passage of this bill, Rep. Axne is advocating for the next phase of legislation to directly assist the State of Iowa and local governments who are under increased financial strain on the front lines of battling COVID-19.

“I’ve spoken to local leaders and emergency managers who have been working night and day to defend their counties and communities from COVID-19. Their work, and their investments, have taken on the burden of this crisis, and they have my deepest gratitude,” said Rep. Axne. “But as our towns and state have fought this pandemic, their coffers are taking the same financial hit that our families and industries are facing – threatening the long-term viability of essential services like education, infrastructure, public safety, and community health. In our next phase of legislation, I will be fighting to get assistance directly to our state and local governments to prevent harmful cuts.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Axne advocated for specific aid for local governments and rural communities in the next phase of coronavirus legislation. Previous legislation provided aid only to local governments with more than 500,000 citizens.

Rep. Axne also called on leadership of both parties to move additional funding for PPP as soon as the Small Business Administration confirmed that funding for loans had been exhausted.