Davids, Gallego Lead 38 Bipartisan Members in Effort to Ensure Tribal Small Businesses Can Access Relief During Coronavirus

April 8, 2020
Press Release

Today, Representative Sharice Davids (KS-03) and Representative Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) led a letter signed by 38 bipartisan members of Congress calling for tribal small businesses to have access to critical relief programs that would help pay their workers and keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

While the CARES Act provides for tribal small businesses to access Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, the Small Business Administration released an interim rule last week that excludes tribally operated gaming and financial operations from accessing this critical assistance. The letter called on the Small Business Administration and Department of Treasury to reverse this harmful rule.

“We should be doing everything we can to support our small businesses right now, including our tribal businesses, which are vital employers for Tribal Reservations and their surrounding communities. It’s essential that tribal small businesses can access these critical loan programs as Congress intended so they can pay their employees, keep their businesses afloat, and to help preserve their economy. The Small Business Administration needs to reverse this rule immediately,” said Rep. Sharice Davids, Vice-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.

“Congress clearly intended for the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program to apply to all Tribal businesses under 500 employees. These small Tribal businesses, including gaming operations, are essential to Tribal sovereignty and are often critical not only to the wellbeing of a Tribal Nation, but to the economy of surrounding communities,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, Chairman of the Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the U.S. “SBA must immediately clarify its eligibility criteria to make all small Tribal businesses eligible for this relief. Anything less could result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs, millions in lost wages, and further economic devastation in Indian Country.”

To view the letter, click here.