Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, urged Congress to extend aid to small businesses as they continue to struggle through the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s an economic war,” Buffett told CNBC’s Becky Quick on “Squawk Box,” speaking alongside Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon about helping small businesses. Small businesses have become “collateral damage in a war that our country needed to fight,” Buffett said.
Specifically, he urged lawmakers to extend the Paycheck Protection Program.
“I think the country owes it to the millions of small-business people … 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 the defense production. Well, we’ve shut down a lot of people in this particular induced recession and others are prospering.”
The window to apply for PPP loans expired earlier this year even with funds remaining in the program.
Late on Monday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers presented a $908 billion fiscal stimulus package. The proposal includes about $300 billion to support small businesses, including restaurants and entertainment venues.
Small businesses have struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic — especially restaurants — as social distancing restrictions force them to limit capacity in their establishments.