PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, after Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced a plan to help rebuild Rhode Island’s economy through a variety of programs — including a new small business grant program — as well as investments in infrastructure and job training, U.S. Senator Jack Reed issued the following statement:

“I commend Governor Raimondo for setting aside federal and state funds to help small businesses hurt by COVID-19.  The state is trying to move expeditiously in getting these funds out quickly to help save jobs and keep small businesses and non-profits afloat.  I worked hard to make these federal funds available and want to see this program help as many Main Street businesses as possible.  The focus now is getting this program up and running and ensuring it is effective.  Clearly, Congress and the Trump Administration need to do more, and I am working to expand federal aid for Rhode Island and trying to convince the Trump Administration to cut needless red tape that is holding back economic recovery.  It is absolutely essential that the federal government provide direct cash support to help save families, jobs, businesses and communities while we focus on protecting public health and getting this pandemic under control.  We’ve seen positive steps in Rhode Island, but our progress is reversible if the Trump Administration and other states don’t do their part as well.”

Senator Reed led the successful effort to create the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law No. 116-136).   He successfully demanded a small state minimum of $1.25 billion in the law. 

As a follow up to the $150 billion CRF, Senator Reed introduced the $600 billion State & Local Emergency Stabilization Fund Act (S. 3671), which would cut needless red tape that was bureaucratically imposed by the Trump Administration to try to constrain states from spending the CRF money that Congress unanimously approved to save lives and help rescue our economy.  It also extends the time horizon states and local governments have to spend the money in order to ensure they have the flexibility to use the funding to help communities combat COVID-19 and also provide a boost to the economy.

Senator Reed has also cosponsored proposals, including the RESTART Act and the Paycheck Security Act, to keep workers in their jobs and to keep small businesses open.

When the U.S. Senate reconvenes next week, Reed believes it must begin crafting a new COVID relief measure on a bipartisan basis to include more federal assistance to small businesses and state and local governments in that package, as well as needed flexibility to effectively spend the federal funds that states already have.