A partisan standoff on Capitol Hill over additional small business funding prompted President Trump on Friday (April 10) to urge Congress to pass the measure as-is, without any additional add-ons, according to a Reuters report.
The latest funding measure would add $250 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help companies avoid layoffs. It stalled in the Senate on Thursday (April 9) because Democrats wanted extra provisions to provide subsidies for food assistance, hospitals and municipalities.
A counter-proposal by Democrats was in turn squashed by Republicans and the Senate adjourned until Monday (April 13). There are no immediate plans for negotiations among Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).
“Democrats are blocking a 251 Billion Dollar funding boost for Small Businesses which will help them keep their employees. It should be for only that reason, with no additions. We should have a big Infrastructure Phase Four with Payroll Tax Cuts & more. Big Economic Bounceback!” Trump said in a tweet.
During the small business relief update meeting on Tuesday (April 7), Trump said that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has processed over $70 billion in PPP loans and added that “we just asked Congress to pass legislation to fund an additional $250 billion. … We’re running out of money pretty quickly.”
“Our nation’s 30 million small businesses employ nearly half of our workforce,” he added.
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at the meeting that he had urged McConnell, Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) to get another $250 billion approved.
“… we want to make sure that every single small business can participate. And we want to assure the workers that if you don’t get the loan this week, there’ll be plenty of money for you next week,” Mnuchin said.
PPP loans will be forgiven for most businesses as long as certain terms are met, like keeping people employed instead of laying them off. Congress already allocated $349 billion for PPP as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act package approved March 25.
The PPP rolled out on April 3, but lenders and the SBA struggled to meet the high demand for loans. Bankers are pointing to the SBA’s slow computer system as the main cause of the delays.