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ICYMI: Rubio Virtual Town Hall With Florida Lawmakers

Apr 29, 2020 | Press Releases

Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Florida State Representative Shevrin Jones (D-District 101) and State Senator Oscar Braynon (D-District 35) for a virtual town hall to discuss the latest on the coronavirus response. See below for highlights and watch the full town hall below.

On Florida’s unemployment insurance system: 
“It’s kind of a two-track system. You have the state unemployment system, which is the regular benefit that you get. And like every state in the country Florida has been overwhelmed by the requests. And by the Governor’s own admission — I think the words he used were that the system had been set up to fail — the system was just not working well. … And then the second part of it is … the additional $600 in federal money, which was a flow-through add-on.”
On the restart of the Paycheck Protection Program: 
“What has happened is that in that ten-day period when [PPP] was shut down, lenders kept taking applications — as they should have, because otherwise it would have been messier. So by the time it restarted on Monday, they were probably sitting on over a million applications. … I can say this to you: despite all of its challenges, hiccups, people getting it that shouldn’t have gotten it and all that kind of thing, it’s been the part of the CARES Act that has worked the best. There are still people waiting for their IRS check. There are still people who haven’t been able to apply for unemployment insurance for four weeks in their states. And businesses have gotten this.”
On role small community banks and credit unions can play:
“I’ve pushed hard for the CDFIs to be included. We’ve got a couple in Florida that are already approved by the Treasury, and we want to get more of them online. … On a per capita basis, the community banks, and the regional banks, and the credit unions have been superstars. They have done 70-something percent of the lending, and they move a lot faster. And really when you start to look at the disparities between the [companies] that have gotten it and the ones that haven’t, it’s the ones that went to the regional and community banks that are doing a lot better than the ones that went to the bigger banks.”
On working with Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) to conduct oversight:
“I was just talking with Senator Cardin this morning … and we’re going to have extensive hearings about this program. We already announced that we’re going to have hearings on how big banks handled their processing, did they actually give preference to some customers over others, and so forth.”
On how and when state economies will begin to re-open:
“Anyone who tells you, ‘Oh, I know exactly how to do it,’ they’re lying. No one’s ever done this before. It’s never been done before.” 
On implication for higher education system and students:
“The universities have a very distinct financing model: they get tuition in the fall and in the spring. And one thing we need to think about — you talked about HBCUs and other schools — a lot of these students, the reason why they can go to school is because they are counting on working somewhere while going to school.  If you’re a waiter, a waitress, a bartender, that place isn’t open. So now we have to take that into consideration.”