Coronavirus

SBA Fund Coffers Said To Run Dry Unless Congress Adds More

Congress

For businesses that have not yet applied for a loan under the $350 billion federal stimulus program designed to mitigate the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, it may be too late.

As of Wednesday (April 15), the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved $289 billion in loans for 1.3 million applicants, The Wall Street Journal reported. The fund is expected to be exhausted by day’s end.

A bipartisan effort to renew the popular initiative with $250 billion more in funding for the SBA to distribute in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans is stalled on Capitol Hill.

The PPP is part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed last month.

Although members of both parties want to pass the funding, Democrats are lobbying for a portion of the cash to be available for hospitals, food assistance and state and local governments. But Republicans insist the measure needs to be focused on reviving the nation’s small businesses. They say other funding can instead be included in future legislation yet to be worked out.

Last week, a deal to pass more government aid stalled in Congress when Democrats and Republicans dueled and then recessed until Monday.

The fight began when Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) opposed Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s motion to approve more loans for small business funding. As a result, the Kentucky Republican was unable to secure unanimous approval for the funding measure.

Negotiations restarted Wednesday to replenish funding for the small business loan program.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) told reporters he spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Wednesday morning.

“We see no reason why we can’t come to an agreement,” Schumer told the WSJ. “We Democrats believe we need more money for small businesses, but we need it to go to the people who are under banked and underserved.”

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