Buffett Urges Congress to Extend PPP to Help Small Businesses

Warren Buffett urged Congress to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to help the millions of small businesses that have become “collateral damage” in the fight against Covid-19.

“We need another injection to complete the job,” Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in a CNBC interview Tuesday. “Congress is debating that right now, and I hope very much that they extend the PPP.”

Buffett, 90, in some of his first public comments since Berkshire’s annual meeting in May, argued that small businesses need more stimulus now to help them weather the rest of the coronavirus shutdowns. He was joined in the interview by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO David Solomon, who argued that small businesses need more help even as the pandemic’s finish line is visible, with vaccines beginning to be distributed.

“The steps that the Fed and Treasury took to put liquidity into the market have certainly helped large businesses,” Solomon said. “But small businesses don’t have that access.”

Buffett acknowledged that there could be instances of fraud in stimulus programs, such as the allegations of misuse of the Small Business Administration’s Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans. But that shouldn’t discourage lawmakers from pursuing efforts to help small businesses, Buffett said.

“There will be fraud connected to it, if you try to do something huge like that,” Buffett said, adding that he believes in prosecuting those who cheat the system. “Don’t let that turn you away from something where millions of people were being helped.”

— With assistance by Sridhar Natarajan

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