Senators Kelly, Cornyn Introduce Loan Program for Border Businesses Devastated by COVID-19

The bipartisan bill provides dedicated assistance to help border businesses stay open, receive bilingual loan assistance, and get on a path to economic recovery 

Today, Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Border Business COVID–19 Rescue Act, new bipartisan legislation that creates a loan program to support small businesses located near the border devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and border closures. 

The Border Business COVID-19 Rescue Act creates a Border Closure Recovery Loan program through the Small Business Administration that would provide small businesses located within twenty-five miles of the border with low-interest assistance loans, which can be deferred interest free for up to four years, to cover costs associated with COVID-19, including to cover employees’ paid sick leave, make rent and mortgage payments, keep employees on payroll, and meet costs associated with personal protective equipment and compliance of public health guidelines, to list a few. 

“Border communities have faced unique challenges with this pandemic, from vaccine distribution to border closures that have impacted their economies. Small businesses are the backbone of Arizona’s economy and far too many have already shut their doors. This bipartisan bill would save jobs, keep Main Street open and put border communities on a pathway towards economic recovery,” said Kelly. 

“Our border communities have been hard hit by not only the pandemic but also by the resulting closure of our border with Mexico,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Businesses along Texas’ border need relief tailored to the hardships they’re facing, and this legislation would create a program within the Small Business Administration to help them bounce back from these economic losses,” said Cornyn.

The Border Business COVID-19 Rescue Act also directs the Small Business Administration to conduct a bilingual educational campaign to raise awareness for the loan program, as well as other loan programs available from the SBA, and provide bilingual technical assistance to businesses seeking to apply. 

Under the Border Closure Recovery Loan program, small businesses would be able apply for a loan to cover up to one-year of business expenses, capped at $500,000. Additionally, Kelly’s bill would provide an emergency grant of $10,000 to border businesses while they wait for their loan to process, providing much-needed stability. These loans would come with a lower interest rate than other SBA assistance programs, like the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and allow for businesses to defer repayment of the loans, interest free, for up to four years. 

Full details of The Border Business COVID-19 Rescue Act can be found HERE.