Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett on Tuesday called on Congress to extend aid to small businesses that continue to struggle with economic shutdowns used to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's an economic war," Buffett said in a phone interview with CNBC's Becky Quick about Squawk Box and spoke to David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, about helping small businesses.
In particular, Buffett urged lawmakers to extend the paycheck protection program.
"I think the country owes it to the millions of small business owners … just renew the PPP and get us to the end of the tunnel," Buffett said. “When we went into World War II, a lot of industries were shut down; everything went to defense manufacturing. Well, we've shut down a lot of people in this particular induced recession and others are thriving, and I think the country owes it to the really millions of small business owners. "
The time window for applying for PPP loans ended earlier this year, even if funds were still available in the program. However, Congress has been at a stalemate in its negotiations on new state aid for months, putting pressure on businesses, especially the smaller ones.
Late Monday, a non-partisan group of lawmakers presented a $ 908 billion stimulus package. The proposal includes approximately $ 300 billion to support small businesses, including restaurants and entertainment venues.
Small businesses, especially restaurants, have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic as social distancing restrictions have forced them to limit their capacities. Some companies have had to close temporarily – and in some cases permanently – due to these restrictions and lack of incentives.
With no extra help to small businesses, Congress "is about to shatter the dreams of tens of thousands," Buffett said. "Congress should act."
"It would be so stupid not to follow this and allow these people to go back to where they could do the kind of business they did before," added Buffett.
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