Small businesses form the heart of Maryland’s economy – creating jobs and driving innovation. That's why Senator Van Hollen is fighting to make sure that small businesses can access the resources and tools they need to grow – including for Maryland’s minority-owned and women-owned businesses and those committed to serving our communities and generating more economic opportunity.
The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic fallout hit our small businesses especially hard. To help them weather the storm, Senator Van Hollen prioritized his office’s efforts to help businesses keep their doors open during these unprecedented times and fought to incorporate real, substantive relief for Maryland small businesses within each of Congress’ coronavirus relief bills, including the American Rescue Plan. The legislative packages passed by Congress contained additional funding for Emergency Disaster Assistance loans and Minority Business Development Agency loans that are run and distributed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and that provided essential relief to many businesses. The bipartisan CARES Act also created the landmark Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to deliver low-interest and forgivable loans to struggling small businesses, and Senator Van Hollen played a key role in refining the program to ensure funds could reach businesses that needed them the most on a targeted and flexible basis.
In addition, Senator Van Hollen has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues to ensure that coronavirus relief programs meet the financial needs of struggling or shuttered event venues, nonprofit organizations, 501(c)(6) organizations like local chambers of commerce, Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, and others. The Senator also worked to create the Restaurant Revitalization Fund within the American Rescue Plan to provide critical relief to restaurants, bars, and other small businesses in the food and beverage services sector. This program has already rushed real relief to just over 2,000 Maryland restaurants, but many restaurant owners still need relief. That’s why Senator Van Hollen has called for a replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund program, and he is working with colleagues and community partners to assemble a new bipartisan relief bill focused on hard-hit small businesses, including restaurants. All of these efforts recognize that small businesses are the engines of jobs and economic growth in our communities.
As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, Senator Van Hollen will continue to put the needs of Maryland’s small businesses front-and-center in the federal budget process. He has worked to build on the foundation Congress established through coronavirus relief legislation by advocating for additional resources to ensure that businesses continue to recover from the pandemic and from natural disasters in the proposed FY2022 federal appropriations bill.
Through his positions on both the Appropriations Committee and on the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Van Hollen is working to support Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions – which are key vehicles for funding businesses and projects in economically underserved communities. Senator Van Hollen is proud to fight on behalf of these important community-based financial institutions that support a wide range of local projects, including everything from bringing grocery stores to communities with no healthy food alternatives to investing in low-income housing.
Senator Van Hollen is also working on both of these committees to support entrepreneurs and deliver resources to women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses. As a part of this effort, the Senator has fought to create more contracting opportunities with the federal government for these businesses – and worked to secure provisions in the infrastructure modernization bill to help generate new opportunities for partnerships and contracts between the public and private sectors. In addition, he is pushing to expand vital SBA programs like the Minority Small Business Development Agency and has consistently backed funding to support the Economic Development Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission to spur growth and job creation where it is needed most.
From our big cities to our small towns, small businesses are key to Maryland’s economic success, and Senator Van Hollen has partnered with them to meet their needs.