IN Focus: Braun, Young discuss latest aid package, impact on businesses

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS – Sen. Mike Braun joined Washington correspondent Trevor Shirley for an online interview this week to discuss the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sen. Braun also appeared Friday at Gov. Eric Holcomb’s daily press briefing, responding to questions about the government’s response and the controversy over some of the President’s remarks in recent days, after the state health commissioner she had received questions from people asking if they should take disinfectants as President Trump “suggested” during the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Thursday.

Braun provided some cover for the president, reiterating Trump’s claims of being “sarcastic” and under stress when he made those comments.

“It’s best not to venture in areas that we don’t know a lot about. He is feeling that pressure across the country where there are so many places anxious to pivot,” Braun said.

On the topic of the economy, Braun shared his thoughts on the latest aid package to be signed into law by the President.

“There was such urgency,” said Braun. “I think everything in it made sense.”

The latest round of funding comes after a nationwide controversy over the size of some companies that received funding for small businesses. Locally, a handful of larger Indiana businesses received some of the federal loan money that was intended for smaller companies.

Some are calling for a return of this money— including Indiana U.S. Senator Todd Young. 

“I think it’s important that these monies go toward their intended purpose, right?” said Sen. Young. “And the intent of this program was to try and make whole our businesses and our households.”

Three larger Indiana companies received PPP loan money. 

According to a Morgan Stanley Research Report released to NPR, Emmis Communications in Indianapolis has 560 employees. It was awarded $4.8 million. The company disputes that number, saying it has 449 employees and employs 238 Hoosiers.

Hallador Energy of Terre Haute employs 915 people and it received $10 million. Escalade Sports in Evansville got $5.6 million for its 468 employees. 

“I do think that there will be some public resistance towards those companies, those individuals who are tapping into a finite amount of money in a time when you have other small businesses unable to access them,” said Young.

Young said if these companies did not qualify for the loans, they should return the money.

“With that said, I value every single Hoosier job and to the extent a Hoosier is employed by larger enterprise, we have programs for those larger enterprises with 500 or more employees,” said Young.

Young and Braun will both appear for a virtual town hall Thursday night at 7 p.m. on FOX59 along with other members of the state’s congressional delegation.

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