Senator Tester Introduces Bill to Provide Debt Relief to Montana Small Businesses and Lenders

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)

Senator’s legislation would support businesses and development organizations by covering the principle, interest, and fees on all SBA loans for 6 months


(U.S. Senate) – As small businesses across Montana feel the economic effects of the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), U.S. Senator Jon Tester introduced legislation that will provide critical relief to Montana small businesses and lenders who rely on the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 504, 7(a) and microloan programs, which are designed to create good-paying jobs in communities across Big Sky Country.

“Montana’s Main Street businesses and the Community Development Companies that support them are the economic engine driving growth in rural communities,” said Tester. “My legislation will provide critical relief and stability to help make sure they have enough gas in the tank to get through this crisis. I’ll keep fighting to make sure that Congress puts politics aside and does the right thing to protect small businesses in Montana and across rural America.

The Small Business Debt Relief Act will direct the SBA to pay the principal, interest, and fees on all products guaranteed by the SBA on behalf of small businesses who use these programs for 6 months. For one year, new SBA borrowers would also be eligible to apply for six months of relief.

Tester’s legislation will not only provide relief to Montana Main Street businesses in the tourism, hospitality and other hard-hit industries during the outbreak, but also to Montana’s Community Development Companies that rely on loan payments to drive the growth of small businesses, entrepreneurship and economic development in rural America.


Tester has relentlessly pushed the Administration to support Montana small businesses and rural communities in the wake of the outbreak. This week, he announced the SBA had declared an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for 30 Montana counties, which will provide much-needed economic support for Montana’s main street businesses.

Tester has also led the charge to make sure that Montana businesses are vulnerable Montanans—in particular seniors, folks with disabilities, and direct care providers—have access to information about test kits, proper protection and the spread of COVID-19. He passed bipartisan legislation through the Senate to ensure veterans GI benefits are protected during the outbreak, and he is working to extend the IRS tax filing deadline. He has also doubled down on his efforts to press the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Indian Health Service to provide veterans, VA healthcare staff and Tribes with access to proper resources and information.

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