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Rogers questions Treasury secretary regarding Coronavirus impact

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The coronavirus has become a priority issue during hearings on Capitol Hill this week as appropriators discuss federal funding for 2021 and emergency needs to address both the health of individuals across the country and the health of the U.S. economy. As world leaders advise against large gatherings, flights and cruises, Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the continued economic impact of the virus on small and large businesses, nationwide.

“I would be remiss if I didn’t raise the issue of the day – the spread of COVID-19 from China to much of the rest of the world and its impact on the global economy. We want to know that the Administration and the Treasury are helping to mitigate the economic impact of this virus, both domestically and internationally,” said Congressman Rogers, ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

“The first priority is funding that will go for small and medium-sized businesses that are directly impacted by this. There are a large number of workers that are going to be required to self-quarantine or be at home to take care of family members who are home to self-quarantine for small and medium-sized businesses. We think it’s appropriate for the government to pick up those costs,” said Sec. Mnuchin. “This is a little bit like a hurricane, and we need to cover these outside of normal expenses. We’re also looking to increase SBA lending dramatically.”

As efforts continue to contain the virus, Sec. Mnuchin said proposals are being developed to stimulate specific industries through options like loan guarantees for businesses that are highly impacted by travel.

With March Madness underway, Congressman Rogers also asked a question on the minds of Kentucky’s Big Blue Nation; will the NCAA tournament be impacted by calls to avoid large gatherings?

In his response, Sec. Mnuchin said the White House Coronavirus Task Force will be making recommendations regarding upcoming events and stated, “it is not a one-size-fits-all approach.”