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President Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump hosted an event at the White House Tuesday inviting small business owners from across the country to discuss the impact of the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Amy Wright, the owner of Bitty & Beau's Coffee Shops that currently employs 120 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, joined the president on stage to praise the "very accessible" financial aid allocated for small businesses shuttered by the coronavirus.
“We employ 120 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For most of them, it is their first paying job, which made the decision for us to temporarily close all five of our shops especially difficult,” Wright said in the East Room of the White House.
“But, thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program and the incredible team, all 120 employees are back on the payroll today and working from home writing handwritten notes that we include with each online order we ship.”
Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead
Wright's employee Michael Heup accompanied her on stage, offering heartwarming words of encouragement to a country devastated by the pandemic.
"At Bitty & Beau’s, we use the phrase ‘not broken’ — that means me and all my coworkers are not broken and we have lots to offer. I know that the great country of the United States isn't broken either," Heup said. "So on behalf of myself and all the employees, thank you."
The PPP was set up through the CARES Act — the bill that was passed in March and that sent many Americans direct stimulus payments of $1,200.
But the initial $350 billion bill quickly proved insufficient to meet demands. Congress agreed to later allocate another $250 billion to the PPP when it passed an additional $484 billion stimulus package earlier this month.
Ivanka Trump, who has been spearheading the administration's small business coronavirus recovery effort, praised the program for giving Bitty & Beau’s Coffee and other struggling businesses a "lifeline during this unprecedented crisis."
“Bitty & Beau’s Coffee represents the backbone of our economy and the heart of American business," the first daughter told Fox News.
"Through the successful Paycheck Protection Program, we have been able to give this shining light a lifeline during this unprecedented crisis. It’s been an honor to get to know Amy, and meet her colleague Michael, as we host them at the White House and share their incredible story."