Rep. Cunningham calls for more funding to support local workers, small businesses, hospitals and more

Charleston County News

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Representative Joe Cunningham is calling for more funding for constituents in the Lowcountry amid the coronavirus shutdown.

The Lowcountry lawmaker on Friday laid out the actions he feels Congress should take to address the public health impacts and economic impacts of COVID-19.

In a letter he sent to Congressional leadership, Cunningham made clear further action is needed to help South Carolina workers, small businesses, cities, servicemembers, and hospitals.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve had countless conversations with Lowcountry small business owners, working families, local leaders, and health care workers who are all feeling the impact of this public health and economic crisis,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “Congress needs to act to meet the needs of our small businesses, hospitals, and cities during this difficult time.”

Rep. Cunningham made the case for specific congressional action which includes:

Protect the Hospital and Tourism Industry by expanding the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Cunningham called on Congress to increase overall funding for the PPP, expand eligibility to 501(c)(6) organizations, and extend funding to three months after establishments are back to full capacity.                                                                                    

Protect our Health Care Workers and First Responders by ensuring they have the resources they need. Cunningham called on Congress to help hospitals develop or bolster isolation capacities, expedite funding to rural and urban hospitals, and increase the procurement of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).

Expand Support to all Small Businesses by encouraging the Small Business Administration to waive its ‘Affiliation Rule’, which currently blocks many small businesses from qualifying for SBA loans.

Expand Support for Small Cities and Municipalities. Cunningham urged Congress to permit smaller localities like those in the Lowcountry to receive direct stabilization funding through the CARES Act. Since all of the localities in the Lowcountry are under the 500,000 population threshold for direct funding, they are not currently eligible for the financial support they need to stabilize their economies.

Support our Uniformed Servicemembers by providing hazard pay to medical professionals in the uniformed services responding to COVID-19, including the SC National Guard. Cunningham called on Congress to pass his legislation, the Pandemic Hazard Pay Expansion Act, which would expand hazard pay to servicemembers whose duties involve frequent exposure to a cause of a declared public health emergency.

You can read a copy of Rep. Cunningham’s letter to Congress by clicking or tapping here.

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