North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis stopped in Asheville Wednesday as part of a statewide tour promoting the Paycheck Protection Program crafted in response to the pandemic.
Standing next to a copper still, Senator Tillis said the visit to H&H Distillery touched on themes he’s heard from other small businesses across the state.
“It literally saved their businesses, it saved the employees that would have otherwise been on unemployment, and to actually feel like they could be creative, come up with different business models post-covid,” Tillis said.
Tillis is advocating for the Senate to pass a follow up of the $2 trillion CARES Act, which included PPP funds for businesses. He says he wants the subsequent measure to include a streamlined loan forgiveness process, for businesses that don’t have the resources to handle extra paperwork.
“When you’ve got seven employees, my guess is you don’t have a big regulatory and compliance department, is that pretty much you?," he said, chuckling, with a distillery staff member. "The idea is the vast majority of loans go to small businesses.”
While Tillis stands firm on passing a second version of the CARES Act, he says he strongly opposes other measures, especially when it comes to raising taxes.
Tillis is up for reelection this year, and his seat is a top target for Democrats as they seek to retake control of the Senate. Polling shows him behind his Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham. That made his absence on the first day of the Republican National Convention even more noteworthy. When asked about that, Tillis pivoted and said he’ll be at the White House Thursday night when President Trump delivers his acceptance speech.