Fayetteville Observer: Tillis gets feedback on Paycheck Protection Program, hopes for additional funding to go to small businesses

August 19th, 2020

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Senator Thom Tillis returned to the campaign trail in-person yesterday for the first time since the pandemic began to highlight the benefits of the Paycheck Protection Program during a roundtable discussion at the Logistics Company in Fayetteville. Tillis’ support of the Paycheck Protection Program, which saved one million North Carolina jobs, stands in stark contrast to Cal Cunningham’s hypocritical criticism of the program.

The Fayetteville Observer attended the event. Read their coverage below.

Tillis gets feedback on Paycheck Protection Program, hopes for additional funding to go to small businesses
Sen. Thom Tillis holds a roundtable discussion in Fayetteville to highlight a program helping business owners affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Rachel Riley
Fayetteville Observer

With about two hours left before the first deadline to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, Larry Walsh was approved.

The program falls under the $2 trillion emergency funding Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed into law March 27, with Congress approving $349 billion in allocations for the Paycheck Protection Program to start April 3 for small businesses with 500 employees or less.

The Logistics Company is a local  Fayetteville area service-disabled veteran-owned small business that was founded in 1996 by Walsh after he retired with 20 years of service in the Army.

The business provides logistic services and operations support for Department of Defense installations and facilities in 40 states, Puerto Rico and Kuwait, including Fort Bragg.

Walsh and representatives of the company provided feedback to Sen. Thom Tillis on Tuesday during a roundtable discussion about the Paycheck Protection Program.

“It took a lot of the headaches away and the worries,” Walsh said. “You drop 200 people from employment all of a sudden you got to worry …”

With more than 500 employees in the company and 200 who are local, Walsh reached out to the Small Business Administration during the first round of the program to determine that his company was eligible to apply.

Theresa Fletcher, chief contracting marketing officer for the Logistics Company, said the program kicked in “just in the knick of the time.”

Fletcher said upon receiving the loan through the program, the company and its subcontractor were able to bring back about 200 employees.

Recently, it benefited a bus driver, painter and employees who work at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia and Fort Gordon in Georgia, Fletcher said.

Tillis said he thinks there are still North Carolina businesses that can benefit from the program, which is why he hopes the legislation will pass during the next few days or week to use another $160 billion toward the program.

“If you would have asked me 5 1/2 years ago if I’d be likely to vote for a $3 trillion spending package, I would have bet against it,” Tillis said. “But when you look at what the choice was, it could have easily rivaled the Great Depression in terms of the reaction to the markets.”

Tillis said he thinks “hundreds of millions of jobs” were saved through programs, which allowed citizens to buy food or pay rent through the individual stimulus checks issued earlier this year and the Main Street lending facility that has $400 billion allocated toward bigger businesses.

He said he thinks another round of the paycheck program could go toward businesses such as the hotel industry, which has lost revenue from lack of business travel during the pandemic, restaurants and others that were the first to shut down or remain closed or businesses that didn’t apply during the first couple of rounds.

“We’ve got to figure out ways to tune it to where more businesses can qualify and more businesses can get it at the time that they need it,” Tillis said of Congress’ oversite.

Veteran-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses are among those he said he thinks should be prioritized for loan approval.

One of the guidelines Tillis said he supports is requiring face masks to be worn.

“And if you don’t wear it on what is sound medical advice, wear it to save these businesses because right now we’re also trying to propose liability protection,” he said.

Tillis said he thinks Congress also needs to work on allocations for hospitals, schools, daycares, vaccines and unemployment provisions.

And, Tillis said, he thinks provisions should address individual assistance checks for seniors or those who are economically distressed.

“What we find consensus on will solve a lot of the economic uncertainty that we have right now,” he said of the hope to reach a bipartisan consensus to help 120,000 more North Carolina businesses and “save 100,000 more jobs.”