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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Rep. Cindy Axne weighs in on CARES Act

The Democratic congresswoman shared her thoughts on legislation to help individuals and business owners, among other topics.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

Local 5: Many viewers have reached out to us. They say that they own small businesses here in Iowa, and they're having some difficulties so far with getting loans through the banks. We know there's a number of steps that have to happen through the Small Business Administration for that money to actually be available to small business people. What can you say to those viewers about where we are right now? 

Rep. Cindy Axne, D-IA: Yeah, first and foremost, thank you to everybody who's working so hard within the systems that we're trying to set up to help keep our economy going and keep money in your pocket. We're grateful for all of the small businesses and what you do

I know this is difficult. The programs that we put in place should help every single small business 500 people down to the just the one sole proprietor or that digit economy worker. So we're really trying to make sure that everybody's captured in that. Problem is we've got some weights. Small Business Administration is certainly taking in a heck of a lot of requests right now. We know that some of our smaller community banks are having some difficulty in accessing the e-trans program that's used to push those loans up to the Small Business Administration. 

So the first piece of advice, I'd say just stick with it. Don't get off the line. Take the time to move through the process, contact our office if you're having any problems. But we do have solutions out there for businesses of all sizes. And we're here to help. 

Local 5: And I know one of the points of contention between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill is exactly who's getting the money, I know you, as a Democrat don't want too much of the money to be weighted toward larger businesses or maybe businesses who are already in the loan pipeline, if you will, and that you're fighting for language that will keep the loans available to the smallest of small businesses, and maybe those that haven't taken a loan before. 

Axne: That's correct. Listen, I've talked to business owners across our district, those who are running nonprofits that might have a couple of folks there that are helping people with mental health issues, small businesses in some of our rural areas that might just be a you know, a couple of mom and pop shop. We want to make sure that the funding gets to those folks, those are the those are the types of businesses that are supporting our communities. I'm grateful to see that we're providing loans for bigger small businesses as well. 

But it has been easier for small businesses that have four or 500 people and has an administrative arm that can help them get after that loan and it's been tougher for some smaller businesses. 

We're fighting to make sure that every single person no matter if you own, you know, the spa, or the eyeglass shop in East Village, and you are just a sole proprietor, or if you own one of our smaller businesses that has 450 people, we want every single one of them to have access so they can keep people on payroll and get a forgivable loan to do that. 

Local 5: A lot of the details are sort of being worked out with the Small Business Administration. Somebody said earlier this week, it's like we're flying a spaceship to Mars, and we're building it on the way during the journey, because there's so much language to go through. Yet at the opposite end. Some of these small businesses say like "we've got two more weeks before we're insolvent."

 Are you confident that small business, small SBA, and the banks are going to be able to get the money moving fast enough?

Axne: Yeah, I know we're gonna be able to get the money moving fast enough. We're looking towards putting another package out there and you refer
That have an additional $250 billion But again, we want to make sure that it actually is working appropriately. So that does get out to those small businesses, those very small micro businesses, which literally constitute the majority of businesses in this country. 

And so that's what we're continuing to work for, so that we don't leave those people out. In addition, I'm hearing from all kinds of folks across our district as I do a virtual county tour, everything from for small for public hospitals, for instance, in our district that need to apply for this. So I'm trying to find out some carve outs that we could look at for that as well. I've also heard from restaurant tours that know that they may be closed longer, and therefore it's going to be much more difficult for them to extend the loan that they received within an eight week period. 

So we need to look at solving those types of problems too, so that they have the money for when they come back online to be able to continue to operate so it really isn't a one size fits all.

This is our opportunity to look at those differences within small businesses and make sure that we're capturing those so that every person can get opportunity and access these loans. 

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