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.