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Polis, Gardner and Bennet ask Senate leadership to improve CARES Act for Colorado

Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner
Michael McGrady | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Coloradans deserve more support from the federal COVID-19 relief legislation that was passed in recent weeks to jump-start pandemic recovery, according to a joint statement signed by Democratic Governor Jared Polis and U.S. Senators Cory Gardner, R-CO, and Michael Bennet, D-CO.

The trio are asking Senate leadership to improve parts of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act so it will better support the Small Business Administration-administered Paycheck Protection Program that provides critical relief to small businesses during the coronavirus crisis.

Businesses deemed "nonessential" have closed across the country and in Colorado, which has seen 233,000 people file initial unemployment claims in a four week span.

“Colorado is representative of America,” the trio wrote in a statement released Thursday. “We have remote rural communities and large urban areas. We depend on the agriculture industry, but we also have some of the most cutting-edge technology companies in the world. We are known for our restaurants, hotels, and outdoor recreation.”

On Wednesday, the SBA announced that the appropriation for the Paycheck Protection Program has already lapsed. SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the agency has processed a record number of loan applications in two weeks. 

“The Paycheck Protection Program is saving millions of jobs and helping America’s small businesses make it through this challenging time,” Carranza and Mnuchin said. “We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program—a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program—at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks.”

“Those industries are supported by countless plumbers, electricians, and contractors,” the state leaders said. “And like America, we have our differences, but above all, Coloradans are pragmatic—we do what works. The ideas laid out in this letter reflect what Coloradans have told us is needed to make these programs work. We should waste no time in adopting them.”