Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler (R.) introduced legislation Thursday to bolster minority-owned businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, part of Loeffler's Prosperity Plan, provides $7 billion in funding to community development and opportunity zone programs and makes permanent a development agency devoted to minority-owned businesses. It also extends small business debt relief that was included in the CARES Act.
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The legislation comes as Loeffler competes with Democrat Raphael Warnock in a runoff election on Jan. 5 that could determine which party controls the Senate.
Warnock has come under fire for a series of controversial sermons, in which he said that "nobody can serve God and the military" and that Americans must "repent" for supporting President Donald Trump and for the country's "worship of whiteness." He has also praised anti-Semitic reverend Jeremiah Wright's controversial "God Damn America" sermon.
Loeffler's campaign recently aired an advertisement touting the senator's support for school choice and minority-owned businesses. Loeffler also criticized the Black Lives Matter movement for advocating the defunding of police, the disruption of the nuclear family, and political violence. Her criticism made her a target of the WNBA, where she is a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream.
With Congress still locked in negotiations over another coronavirus aid package, Loeffler stressed the need to act to support minority communities disproportionately harmed by the pandemic.
"Economically distressed communities need a lifeline now more than ever," Loeffler said. "The Economic Empowerment for Underserved Communities Act will expand access to the capital and resources to support minority-owned businesses, create jobs, and promote economic revitalization."
Loeffler's bill garnered support from other Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.).
"Throughout this crisis, we have made it a priority to ensure emergency funding for small businesses is available to under-banked and underserved communities," Rubio said. "Senator Loeffler’s bill does exactly that by providing critical funding and resources that would benefit underserved entrepreneurs as well as establish long-term support and investments in low-income communities."