Dallas megachurch that hosted Pence approved for millions in coronavirus aid


A Dallas megachurch that hosted Vice President Pence last month amid the coronavirus pandemic was approved for millions of dollars in federal aid.

First Baptist Dallas was approved for a forgivable loan worth $2 million to $5 million, according to data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) on Monday. 

Pence spoke at the church last month at an event dubbed “Celebrate Freedom Rally” with a crowd of 2,000 people. The church has a maximum capacity of about 3,000. 

Its pastor, Robert Jeffress, has also been on President Trump’s evangelical advisory board, Reuters noted.

The Dallas church was one of tens of thousands of religious organizations that received a total of $7.3 billion in SBA coronavirus aid, according to the news service. 

The SBA released data about loans made under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of at least $150,000. The agency said that through June 30, about 4.9 million loans have been approved totaling about $521 billion, with the average loan size about $107,000. 

Loans of more than $150,000 make up almost 73 percent of the dollar amount of all loans, but they only make up 13.5 percent of the loans. 

The PPP was created as part of coronavirus relief legislation that Congress passed in March. It allows small businesses and nonprofits to receive loans that are forgivable if the funds are used for payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities and the recipient maintains employee compensation levels.

The Hill has requested comment from the First Baptist Dallas.

Tags Coronavirus coronavirus relief COVID-19 Dallas Donald Trump Forgivable Loans Mike Pence Paycheck Protection Program ppp SBA Small Business Administration Texas

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