The Republican senator from Florida had spent years on the national stage but broke through with a pandemic program for millions of companies
By Erica Werner
June 10, 2020
The Washington Post
Sen. Marco Rubio will cap perhaps his most consequential three months in Congress with a key oversight hearing on Wednesday.
Rubio, the Florida Republican who chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, has called Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza to testify about the Paycheck Protection Program. Rubio played a lead role in creating the program as part of the Cares Act in March, and has seen it through two chaotic months.
Now, in the wake of Friday’s surprisingly positive jobs report, the PPP is being widely hailed as one of the most successful pieces of the congressional response to the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus. And Rubio has rocketed into newfound status as one of the Senate’s standout legislators, having steered the previously inconspicuous panel that oversees small businesses into the center of the historic recovery effort.
“I didn’t want there to be a pandemic, obviously. I mean, I’d prefer to never have had to do this, because that means we didn’t have this pandemic,” Rubio said in an interview. “But I do think there is a sense of it that feels rewarding. ... If the purpose of being a public servant is to make a difference I’ve certainly been given that opportunity.”
“I mean, this thing just didn’t exist,” Rubio said. “On April 3rd, when the first PPP loan was made, no one on the planet had ever applied for one, processed one, approved one, or made one. So that when you add it all up I don’t think there’s any question that it’s by far the most successful part of the [Cares Act].”
“We focused a lot on the technical glitches,” Rubio added. “But there is no doubt in my mind that there are people by the millions who kept their jobs and paychecks and there are businesses by the hundreds of thousands that would not today be viable had it not been for the program.”
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