Small businesses across the country could face a looming meltdown with massive layoffs should Congress fail to include more money for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in the latest coronavirus relief bill, a top Republican warns.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, chair of the Senate Small Business Committee, said Wednesday (Aug. 5) on CNBC’s Squawk Box that without another shot of PPP funding, money for small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus will begin to dry up, with dire consequences.
“You are going to begin to see, at some point, small business layoffs again as companies run out of the PPP money,” Rubio said during his appearance.
“That’s a real thing, and we are going to see it unfortunately, and then that begins to trickle across the rest of the economy, including the real estate sector because they can’t pay rent, and so forth,” Rubio said. “And so we have to act, we have to do something.”
In a Wall Street Journal interview published over the weekend, Rubio said he is seeking, among other things, $100 billion for a new PPP initiative that would dole out inexpensive, long-term loans to struggling small businesses, with a particular focus on seasonal businesses that may be facing a complete revenue wipeout, as well as firms in low-income areas.
Rubio’s warning comes as Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle and the Trump Administration remain at loggerheads over the terms of another coronavirus relief bill, with Republicans looking to significantly reduce the $600 a week in additional unemployment benefits provided by the federal government during the first months of the crisis.
That extra $600 a week payment ran out at the end of July, leading to warnings of impending evictions, foreclosures and other signs of economic distress as millions of jobless workers face the loss of a key support.
Senate Republicans have proposed another $190 billion in PPP funding in their coronavirus relief package, while House Democrats did not include additional money for the program in their $3 trillion proposal.
Still, the prospects for an agreement on another round of PPP funding appear in relatively better shape, with the top Democrat on the Senate Small Business Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), having said he is largely in agreement with the Republican plan, according to CNBC.