Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, urged Congress to help small businesses that continue to grapple with economic shutdowns used to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an economic war,” Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick in “Squawk Box,” and spoke with David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, about helping small businesses. In particular, Buffett asked lawmakers to expand the Paycheck Protection Program.
“I think the country owes it to the millions of small business people… just extend the PPP and take us to the end of the tunnel,” Buffett said. “When we entered World War II, a lot of industries shut down; everything went into defense manufacturing. Well, we’ve shut down a lot of people in this particular induced recession and others are thriving.”
The deadline for applying for PPP loans expired earlier this year, even with the remaining funds in the program. However, Congress has been deadlocked for months over new government aid negotiations, putting pressure on businesses, especially the smaller ones.
Late Monday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers presented a $ 908 billion tax stimulus package. The proposal includes approximately $ 300 billion to support small businesses, including restaurants and entertainment venues.
Small businesses are struggling to survive the pandemic – especially restaurants – as social distance restrictions are forcing them to limit capacity in their establishments. Some companies have been forced to close temporarily – and in some cases permanently – because of these restrictions and a lack of incentives.
Without additional support for small businesses, Congress is “destroying the dreams of tens of thousands,” Buffet said. “Congress must act.”
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