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Senator Charles Grassley visits Decorah, hears concerns about the Payroll Protection Plan

Posted: Tue, May 26, 2020 4:37 PM
Social distancing was observed Tuesday afternoon at U.S. Senator Charles Grassley's visit to Decorah City Hall

Each year, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley travels to all of Iowa's 99 counties to hold public forums.  In February, Grassley visited 14 counties.  Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

On Tuesday, Grassley resumed his county visits, making stops in Clayton, Allamakee and Winneshiek counties.  In Decorah, Grassley met with six selected people, so the overall meeting would not be larger than the 10 people limit imposed by COVID-19.

After talking with Winneshiek Medical Center Chief Administrative Officer Lisa Radtke, Grassley told he's a supporter of telehealth and is hoping that some of the regulations being used now during the coronavirus epidemic can be continued after the epidemic ends.

But the biggest topic of discussion involved the Paycheck Protection Program, which awards loans to small businesses as a direct incentive to keep their workers on the payroll.  The money can be used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

But Grassley heard from several business owners that the weekly payments of $600 to people who can also receive unemployment compensation payments at the same time make people reluctant to return to employment because the take home pay will be less or just slightly higher.  Grassley told the group he believes the PPP program will be extended into the fall, but changes will be made to it in the wake of comments such as he heard in Decorah.