Main Street Lending Program was designed to provide loans to businesses that were in good financial standing before coronavirus pandemic hit


Boston (April 30, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass,), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and Chair of the Senate Climate Change Task Force, released the following statement today after the Federal Reserve changed the rules to allow fossil fuel companies to receive bigger loans from the Main Street Lending Program—which is designed to provide loans to businesses that were in good financial standing before the coronavirus pandemic hit—and use them to refinance pre-existing debt. A week ago, Senator Markey and Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) called on the Federal Reserve not to acquiesce to the fossil fuel industry’s pleas to change the Main Street Lending Program. Fossil fuel companies lobbied the Fed to change the terms of the lending program to allow its loans to be used to pay off old debt, and to allow those repayments to take place before paying back the Federal Reserve. The fossil fuel industry has been taking on massive amounts of debt for years, driving away other major financial institutional backers and underperforming in the stock market.


“By hook or by crook, Big Oil is going to try to get a bailout while small businesses shutter,” said Senator Markey. “President Trump’s fossil fuel cronies lobbied and are going to take money that was meant to help businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic in order to bail themselves out of $200 billion in existing debt. It is deplorable to spend good money after bad and waste taxpayer dollars on an industry that has been struggling for years due to bad business decisions. Polluting fossil fuel companies are getting a bailout worth hundreds of millions of dollars per company, while small businesses are fighting for a piece of a too-small and finite pot of money. It’s unacceptable, unwarranted, and unjust, and we cannot let this stand.”


Previously, Rep. Barragán, Senator Markey, and 39 of their House and Senate colleagues sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Federal Reserve System Chair Jerome Powell expressing their opposition to requests from the oil industry and coal industry to secure a bailout using financial resources from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.