Bennet, Gardner Welcome New Treasury Guidance Clarifying Eligibility of Rural Electric Cooperatives for Paycheck Protection Program

Guidance Comes After Bennet, Gardner, Colleagues Urged Administration to Provide PPP Support for Rural Electric Cooperatives

Denver – Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner welcomed new guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury clarifying that rural electric cooperatives with fewer than 500 employees are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Earlier this month, Bennet and Gardner joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging the Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to support rural electric cooperatives and ensure their access to the PPP, which was established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to support small businesses, help them maintain payroll, and cover expenses during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I’m encouraged by the U.S. Treasury Department’s decision to make clear that rural electric cooperatives can access the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Bennet. “Electric cooperatives provide essential services to communities across Colorado and the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’ve consistently called for them to qualify for federal small business relief. I’m glad the Treasury listened to our calls and issued this guidance so that Colorado’s rural electric cooperatives can apply for the financial support they need to weather this crisis.” 

“Rural electric cooperatives provide invaluable services across Colorado and they have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Gardner. “I applaud this much-needed clarity that we requested from the Treasury Department to ensure rural electric cooperatives are eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program to keep workers on payroll and continue vital operations. The PPP has proven itself to be essential to keeping workers on payroll, and I’ll continue to work to improve it to ensure it is providing relief to those in need in Colorado.”  

In addition to Bennet and Gardner, the April letter was signed by U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

The text of the letter is available HERE.