Nevada senator: First stimulus bill didn't 'focus on mom and pop' businesses

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto said Thursday the way the first stimulus bill was written, a lot of the money intended for small businesses actually went to much larger operations.

“It wasn’t narrow enough to focus on mom and pop and minority-owned businesses,” she said in an interview.

Major banks, she said, prioritized their existing customers because they already had relationships with those corporations.

A number of those businesses have returned the money but Cortez Masto said that would not have happened had it not become public.

Now that a new package has been passed and signed into law, Cortez Masto said, “there’s more money that’s going to be coming.” She said some safeguards have been written in to the new $300 billion-plus package for small businesses this time around.

But she said she’s going to keep an eye on the federal agencies disbursing the money.

“I want to know where this money is going, how they’re making determinations, which businesses receive the loans,” she said. “I want to make sure we’re not being left out or somehow overlooked in the state of Nevada.”

She pointed out that Nevada has a lot of smaller banks and other small financial institutions including community-based institutions, small banks, credit unions and others that should qualify for loans to the true small businesses in the state.

She said she and other members of Congress are largely at home right now but have been called to return to Washington, D.C., this weekend.

She said the Senate is even scheduling hearings next week, including a first vote Monday night.

“We’re trying to figure out how to keep workers safe,” she said.

To get there, Cortez Masto said she has to take a commercial air flight, but will be wearing a mask and gloves for protection.


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