Hoeven talks SBA, COVID-19 recovery and oil


Senator John Hoeven, appearing on Wednesday’s What’s On Your Mind radio program, took time to discuss several aspects of the COVID-19 process. He touched on multiple programs available, and previewed what it might take to open up the country.

Small Business Administration

Hoeven touched on several aspects of small businesses that are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including funding of the Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

He says the SBA’s funds essentially go through community banks, which allows the banks to get the fund money out more expeditiously. The SBA still does the approvals, but the banks will be the ones dispersing the money.

Hoeven says community members have shared worry in not having enough money for the loans. Currently, $350 billion has been appropriated for the funds. As of late Wednesday, more than 80 billion dollars has been allocated. Hoeven says the Senate is currently addressing the appropriation of more money, which would allow for the amount of worry from citizens to subside.

The Senator also says that members of Congress are working with the SBA and the local financial institutions to answer questions, as he says the want to limit the possibility of “everyone coming to the SBA with questions all at one time.”

The SBA has done the approvals on the loans so far, which have a rate of one percent.

But, guaranteeing the loan and funding the loan are two separate things. Hoeven says it’s time for the SBA and Federal Reserve to “nail it down.”

He says there is a variety of ways to fund the loans.

In addition to the small business loans, there is a mid-majors loan program available to mid-major size businesses. It’s called the Main Street Business Lending Program.

Hoeven says mid-major businesses “have a challenge accessing capital.”

The rate on the program is two percent or less, and the program itself is backed by the US Treasury.. Unlike other programs, the Main Street Business Lending Program does not have a grant aspect to it, Hoeven said.


Hoeven also addressed COVID-19, which continues to spread across the United States. He says states across the country are preparing for when it is time to begin opening up.

“People are starting to think and plan, asking ‘How are we going to open up?’” Hoeven said. He believes this will not be a mass process, but one that is phased out over time.

Earlier this week, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said he was starting discussions with North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum on how and when businesses will be able to begin opening.

“It makes people feel good,” Hoeven said of the thought of opening up states.

As far as the recovery of the economy, which has taken a direct hit due to COVID-19, Hoeven says, “I’m hopeful it’s going to be sooner than years or months.”

Oil industry

Another hot topic for Hoeven lately has been the oil industry.

On Wednesday, Hoeven said the primary thing to do is simple.

“We have to end the price war,” he said.

Hoeven alluded to the fact that there will be a meeting of the oil producing countries on Thursday. He says that he believes there will be a reduction in supply coming soon due to the state of oil.

“The Coronavirus fight has crushed demand,” Hoeven said of oil.

Along with fellow Senators and Representatives, Hoeven says he will be unveiling a bill to buy American petroleum for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. A similar thought was included in one of the versions of the CARES Act, but was blocked in the final passage.