BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Senator Thom Tillis stopped by a Brunswick County business Wednesday while he was in the area for the dedication of Wilmington as a WWII Heritage City.
Tillis (R-NC) met with the management team at Flow Sciences, Inc, a company that manufactures containment equipment and other products.
Flow Sciences was also the recipient of one of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans made possible by the CARES Act passed by congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Tillis said he has been meeting with other businesses in the area as well as around the state to discuss the program as lawmakers look to possibly pass additional relief in the weeks to come.
“[Those businesses] have all said the same thing,” Tillis said. “The Paycheck Protection Program saved their businesses, and it also gave them confidence to figure out how to work with a very different business environment today.”
Tillis said he believes additional provisions are coming soon, but he would like to see the process for any future PPP-type loans streamlined in an effort to serve additional businesses.
He also thinks relief legislation should be “tailored” to help the kinds of businesses that were not well served by the CARES Act or PPP, because of the nature of their industry.
“I just met with some home hotel owners and travel and tourism business people this morning, and they didn’t really qualify, it didn’t make sense for them to get the loan because their hotels were going to be shut down,” he said. “And so there was no business to have the employees come to. That’s a part of the tailoring that we’re talking about that I think will help.”
However, Sen. Tillis alluded that the partisan divide in Washington could delay additional aid.
In his conversation with the Flow Sciences team, the senator did not shy away from his ongoing re-election campaign and how he has sparred with Democrat Cal Cunningham over PPP loans.
Cunningham has accused Tillis of not focusing on the recovery effort, and has criticized the senator for not ensuring that PPP loans have adequate oversight.
Tillis refuted that, saying the program is being overseen by an inspector general, and there is room to make the process less cumbersome.
At the meeting, as he has in the past, Tillis referenced claims that Cunningham criticized PPP loans at the same time a company he worked for was applying for one.
Cunningham’s campaign said this has been “debunked” by fact-checkers, and the comments are a way of avoiding the gap in relief funding.
A spokesperson said: “Once again, as fact-checkers have already confirmed, Senator Tillis is misleading voters about Cal’s support for the Paycheck Protection Program. Senator Tillis is trying to distract from the fact that he allowed federal unemployment insurance benefits to expire in July, failed to pass a new round of COVID-19 relief in August, and then left Washington for a month-long vacation. Instead of holding campaign events to lob misleading attacks at Cal, Senator Tillis should be in Washington actually doing his job.”
Management at Flow Sciences thanked the senator for his visit and for listening to their concerns, including those about manufacturing and intellectual property, which they say are even more consequential to the future of their business than the pandemic.