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Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, was featured in CBS’ Pandemia: Latinos in Crisis to discuss how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has helped underserved and minority-owned small businesses stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairman Rubio co-wrote the bipartisan program that has protected tens of millions of employees at nearly 5 million small businesses.

See below for highlights and watch the full special here

Ed O’Keefe: Where you find humans in crisis, you also find humans willing to help. And we will devote the rest of this hour to those running towards the fire. We begin with Marco Rubio. The Cuban-American Florida Republican Senator is a lead author of the Paycheck Protection Program, which is designed to be a life-line for companies struggling amid the pandemic.

Rubio: Well let me tell you what it’s not, it’s not a bailout. And my view of it is that if the government is going to force you to close, then the government has a role to play in trying to the extent possible to keep you whole. And so, what we wanted to do is we wanted to create a bridge between the pandemic and some return to normalcy that helped as many people as possible stay connected to their job.  

O’Keefe: But the hope here is that you’re keeping these companies aloft as long as possible. 

Rubio: That’s exactly right, and I don’t mean to say that to be insensitive about it. I think it’s to be honest about it. When you have something like this happen, there will be harm done. There’s been harm already done. 

If this was thirty years ago: my dad worked at a hotel, my mom worked at a K-Mart at the time. What would have happened to us? When I was fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years of age. If something like this would have happened then, they both would have been unemployed. I’m pretty sure of that. And you think about those sorts of things. 

O’Keefe: That’s why Rubio hopes the Paycheck Protection Program is doing more than just putting money in the bank.

Rubio: For people who have never gone through that or seen it, or lived it, or been near it, you don’t realize that the impact isn’t just economic. It strikes right at the heart of what gives your life purpose, meaning, and dignity for millions and millions of people. And we’re working on it. We’re doing the best we can to address it. And things are going to get better. It isn't going to be like this forever. 

Rubio: A society is individuals who have agreed, mutually, to live together. To share values, to share a future, to share a country, and their communities. And you can’t have a successful society if a significant percentage of the people in that society feel like it’s not working out for them.