According to reports, the small-business loan program designated by Congress as part of the 2.2 trillion stimulus package is nearly depleted. The Small Business Administration suggested on Wednesday that the money could run out as early as that night. The Wall Street Journal reported funds would be depleted by Thursday morning.
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The Paycheck Protection Program was designed to help owners reeling from the pandemic, but just weeks after its launch, at least $324 billion of the $350 billion had been allocated to small businesses. This comes as Congress reconvened to negotiate more funding for some of the hardest-hit Americans.
Democrats and Republicans are hoping to add $250 billion to the program, but disagree on if stipulations should be placed on the government-issued money. Democrats also want to expand the reach of the loan program to include provisions for hospitals as well as food assistance and aid for local governments. Republicans want the bill to remain focused on small-businesses and put off talks for other entities in need.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are said to have spoken to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Wednesday by phone to discuss additional fundings and continue talks about Congressional intervention.
“We see no reason why we can’t come to an agreement,” Schumer said. “We Democrats believe we need more money for small businesses, but we need it to go to the people who are underbanked and underserved.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell disagrees. “It has been stunning to watch our Democratic colleagues treat emergency funding for Americans’ paychecks like a Republican priority which they need to be goaded into supporting,” McConnell said in a statement on Wednesday night. “Funding a bipartisan program should not be a partisan issue.”
Talks between the two parties are expected to continue on Thursday.
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