President Joe Biden knocked President Donald Trump‘s administration for doling out Paycheck Protection Program loans to ‘people who shouldn’t have gotten the help’ during a visit to a D.C. hardware store to showcase changes he’s made to the program.
Biden visited W.S. Jenks & Son, a hardware store with two urban farms on the premises, which used PPP money to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘We found out an awful lot of that went to bigger businesses that, in fact, weren’t supposed to qualify for this,’ he said of the PPP loans. ‘Because there used to be a thing called an inspector general, to see where the money went, and the last administration fired the inspector general.’
President Joe Biden (center) visited W.S. Jenks in D.C. on Tuesday, speaking to co-owner Mike Siegel (right) about his Paycheck Protection Program loan and Mary Anna Ackley (left) who owns one of the two urban farms in the building
‘Don’t jump, we need you,’ President Joe Biden said to staff watching him from a balcony during a visit Tuesday to W.S. Jenks & Son, a D.C. hardware store that took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program
In April, just weeks after the first $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed, Trump removed Glenn Fine, the acting inspector general for the Defense Department, who had been tapped to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which the law created to watch over how funds were being used.
One notable PPP loan, for nearly $1 million, was given in April 2020 to TB12, a sports health company that is owned by Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who’s friendly with Trump. ‘
Restaurant chains including TGI Fridays and P.F. Chang’s that signed up for PPP loans were criticized for taking money that was designed to go to mom-and-pop stores and other small businesses.
‘So a lot of money went to people who shouldn’t have gotten the help,’ Biden explained.
The president said that’s why he put some temporary restrictions on the PPP program.
Starting on February 24, only businesses with fewer than 20 employees could apply for PPP loans for a 14-day period.
‘And the reason for that was, 400,000 small businesses went out of business,’ Biden said. ‘They got in line and couldn’t get the help.’
The president added that often minority and women-owned businesses fit into this category.
Biden asked Mike Siegel, one of the co-owners of the hardware store, ‘What hit you the hardest when the pandemic hit?’
‘We took all of our at-risk employees and sent them home,’ Siegel replied, explaining that a PPP loan allowed them to continue to pay their employees.
The business owner said, ‘We’re still struggling.’
‘While our retail business actually increased over the course of the pandemic – I think people know there’s a little bit of a hardware boom – a big portion of our business is actually government sales and commercial sales and for the first four or five months that was completely gone. And honestly, it’s about 60 per cent of our annual revenue.’
Siegel said that W.S. Jenks & Son was the oldest hardware store in Washington, D.C., adding that it’s also ‘the greenest hardware store in America,’ as two urban farms – Little Wild Things and Cultivate the City – are also in the building.
Some of the employees were on a balcony overlooking the presidential visit, with Biden giving them a wave.
‘I see them!’ he said. ‘Don’t jump, we need you,’ he told the staff – a Biden-ism he also used on a rooftop heckler during a visit to Pittsburgh while on the campaign trail in August.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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