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Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen discuss $ 1.25 billion aid package for small businesses


Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen appeared together Tuesday to discuss how small businesses can get federal funding as the United States continues to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.

During the event, Harris announced the disbursement of nearly $ 1.25 billion for so-called Community Development Financial Institutions, which lend money to low-income and other disadvantaged communities. to help promote upward economic mobility. These funds will go to more than 860 of these community lenders, many of whom are in majority minority communities.

Harris said the pandemic has accelerated economic inequality in the economy and needs to be reimagined.

“Small businesses are of course at the center of this reimagining,” said Harris, noting that small businesses are essential to the economy and to job creation.

The money was made possible by the new Quick Payback Program, passed as part of December’s COVID relief legislation and based on a bill by then-Senator Harris with Senators Mark Warner of Virginia, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as Representative Maxine Waters of California. Warner and Waters were both in attendance for today’s event.

Through the Quick Payback Program, the nearly $ 1.25 billion will enable CDFIs to help their clients and communities weather the economic hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This is the rapid response portion of a larger $ 12 billion funding for community and minority financial institutions. An additional $ 9 billion will provide indirect capital investments to financial institutions, while $ 1.75 billion will go into a minority loan program later in the year.

“This is just the start,” Yellen said. Yellen said every dollar given to community lenders injects $ 8 into private investment. She also noted that the $ 12 billion provided to community lenders represents the largest number of funds that have passed through these institutions since their inception in the 1990s.

Warner said in his remarks that the spending was the government “putting its money where its mouth is” to support minority-owned businesses.

Ensuring that smaller businesses get the financial support they need to weather the pandemic and recover was a major goal Both the Vice President and Secretary of the Treasury and their teams worked together to implement the new program in neglected communities.

At the same time, Harris’ first event when he took office was with small business owners. Less than a month after the administration began, Harris and Yellen appeared together for an event with the local black chambers of commerce. Another private engagement took place in the West Wing Vice President’s office at the end of March. The Vice President and Secretary of the Treasury have also met with small business owners across the country on several occasions.

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