Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida participated in an “urgent pastor briefing” last Thursday that was hosted by the Florida Family Policy Council, a religious right organization headed by anti-LGBTQ activist John Stemberger.
Rubio, who has long supported Stemberger and his organization, revealed during the call plans to use the coronavirus stimulus package that the Senate is drafting to provide grants to churches and other non-profit organizations in order to help them meet payroll and pay bills during the current economic crisis.
When Stemberger asked if there were any plans to provide assistance to churches during this crisis, Rubio stated that he had been tasked with drafting a package that would do precisely that.
“The package that I’ve been tasked with establishing,” Rubio said, “is open to nonprofits—basically churches and other nonprofit groups.”
“The gist of it,” he continued, “is the government is going to basically step forward and tell small businesses and not-for-profits, ‘Whatever your normal operating costs are—primarily rent, or lease, or the cost of real estate, and the cost of payroll that existed before this crisis [such as] what was it on March 1—whatever that is, we’re going to lend you four times that or give you four times that.’ And a year from now, you are going to show your books, and if you spent that money that you took out from this program through your bank for purposes of maintaining payroll and paying your overhead so your lights didn’t go out and that sort of thing, it is going to be forgiven.”
Any funds spent for other purposes would be considered a loan and would have to be paid back, Rubio said.