Rep. Andy Kim
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

New Jersey Rep. Andy Kim introduced new legislation that aims to bolster the Small Business Association’s Microloan Program and help businesses that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Small Business Association’s Microloan Program was created by Congress in 1991 to make funds available to lenders based in the communities they serve. Those lenders then make loans available to eligible borrowers, who, according to Kim’s office, are often under served and may not have a long credit history. And that can make them more vulnerable to economic fluctuations. 

“In times of crisis, our small businesses are always the first to feel the pain, and the last to recover. It’s why we need to take action now to support our entrepreneurs impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Kim in a statement. “I know this bill won’t be enough; I’ll keep working to listen to our small business owners and work with them to ensure they have the support they need to get through this period and be ready to come back strong.” 

The new legislation would authorize $80 million in technical assistance grants, provide subsidies to authorize $110 million in direct loans and extend repayment terms that can help businesses grow while still maintaining the requirements of the loan. 

In recent weeks Kim has been vocal on a variety of ways the federal government can help ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including calling on the federal government to use the Defense Production Act, calling on FEMA to establish more testing capabilities in New Jersey, and pushing the Trump Administration to help veterans and seniors collect direct relief payments. 

“I’ve heard from so many small business owners about the struggles you’re having, about whether or not you’re going to have to shut your business down, potentially forever. And concerns from workers who don’t know if they’ll be able to pay their next bills as they’ve been either laid off or not been able to go to work,” Kim said in a statement. “These are real problems that we’re facing, and it’s so critically important that we in the government and Congress respond with the urgency that you need and deserve.”