Delgado: Pandemic relief is on the way for businesses, farmers
Provisions for small businesses and farmers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic is available, according to U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-Rhinebeck.
“I’m confident we will get through this,” Delgado said. “We just have to continue to trust each other, look out for each other and need to make sure we in Congress keep doing the work to provide for folks on the ground and make sure that no one’s slipping through the cracks.”
Delgado recently introduced the Small Business Repayment Relief Act, which was part of a more than $2 trillion stimulus package to address the economic impact of COVID-19.
The act automatically waives six months of payments for small businesses with existing Small Business Administration loans, Delgado said. This automatic payment by the Small Business Administration, which covers principal, interest, and fees, is valid for all current and new qualified Small Business Administration loans, according to Delgado’s website.
Another important piece of the stimulus package was the $10 billion set aside for Small Business Administration emergency grants, Delgado said. Of that money, $10,000 can fund the immediate relief of a small business’ operating costs, he said.
On the agriculture side, the bill provides $9.5 billion in disaster assistance to agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, he said.
“It’s making sure those operators and those farmers are provided real relief,” he said.
The bill also included increases for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food banks and children’s nutrition programs as well, he said.
Speaking from his home in Rhinebeck, Delgado said lack of face-to-face contact with constituents has been challenging.
“When you’re thinking about self isolation and social distancing, it is the antithesis of everything we’ve been trying to build here in my office,” Delgado said. “Rightfully so; it’s required and we have to do these things. It’s been a real process on our end to figure out how do we maintain that and what are the ways we can still remain accessible and transparent and lean in despite the conditions we are now forced to deal with.”
Delgado said he’s traded his in-person town halls to weekly telephone town halls and scheduling weekly calls for his small business, agriculture, health care and veterans advisory groups. He said he also speaks with hospital administrators and constituents struggling with issues on the ground or who “want to connect about an issue that they’re having and just want to talk to me directly.”
Delgado said an important thing for government officials to do is foster confidence in the public.
Though there’s still work to be done on many issues, including infrastructure, broadband, telemedicine and getting more personal protective equipment on the ground, he said the bipartisan passing of the stimulus bill is a good foundation to work from.
“They’re looking for us to come together,” Delgado said. “They’re looking for us to have answers and not create more problems. They’re looking for us to be bipartisan. They’re looking for us to put politics aside and to do the work and make sure people are supported in these very difficult times.”