HEAT Members Request Equal Access to the Main Street Lending Program for All Industries

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and HEAT Members Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) led a joint letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell requesting equal consideration of all industries when implementing the Main Street Lending Program (MSLP).

"As you may be aware, the United States leads the world in oil and natural gas production. However, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has greatly affected our economy as businesses across America have been forced to shut down or limit operations," the letter reads. "The oil and gas industry is no exception. Global oil prices have declined nearly 60 percent since January 2020. The combination of drastically dropping demand due to the pandemic, a volatile market, the recent price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and U.S. oil storage at or near capacity has created a harrowing fate. On April 20th, oil contract prices dropped to an astonishing and unprecedented negative $37 for May delivery of U.S. crude." 
"We appreciate President Trump urging the Department of Energy, the Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve to work in unison to implement a plan to ensure liquidity is accessible for the oil and gas industry. America’s oil and natural gas industry supports 10.3 million jobs in the United States and nearly 8 percent of our nation’s Gross Domestic Product. It is crucial to keep the energy sector functioning and hard-working Americans employed, not only to retain U.S. energy dominance, but to rebuild our overall American economy."
"Therefore, we respectfully request that the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve resist calls to limit industry or company eligibility with regards to accessing the Main Street Lending Program. The intent of Congress is clear, through the CARES Act, that the creation and implementation of this new program should encompass small and medium sized businesses, without discriminating by industry."

The letter is being sent to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and Chair Powell to emphasize that CARES resources, including the Main Street Lending Program, should be available for every sector of our economy. The oil and gas industry employs millions of hardworking Americans, and contributes 8 percent of U.S. GDP.  Most importantly, as we respond to COVID-19 the oil and gas industry plays a critical role in ensuring our health care providers and first responders have the PPE they need to care for affected Americans. The MSLP was designed to assist all workers, across all industries.  Recent calls to restrict eligibility ignore the crucial role that oil and gas play in our response to COVID-19, and the reopening of our economy.