Tom Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is urging Congress to finish up a plan for the next round of stimulus spending by Monday (April 20), according to CNBC.
Speaking on CNBC’s “Closing Bell,” Donohue said lawmakers all “understand it” and everyone would face blame if more was not done to mitigate the coronavirus‘s impact, especially in an election year.
Congressional Democrats have been spending the weekend negotiating with President Donald Trump on the next steps for financial aid amid the pandemic, as large parts of the country remain closed to respect social distancing measures.
The next phase of the bill will resume the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as its $349 billion to fund small- to medium-sized business (SMB) loans has maxed out, with the Small Business Association (SBA) having stopped taking applications from lenders and giving out loans due to the capacity being reached.
Donohue said the organization had been doing a good job thus far, but now it is time to do more — and, he added, it wouldn’t be the last time, either.
As of late, attempts by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to pass versions of a new spending bill have failed, with Republicans’ efforts to expand the PPP and Democrats’ inclusion of hospitals and SMB concerns both ending up falling flat. Donohue said he thinks SMBs have been caught in the crossfire, saying the focus needs to be on taking care of the “little guys.”
He said there isn’t just one party that would be able to do better on a solution.
Whatever new legislation is passed will be the fourth measure taken by the U.S. government since March to help boost individuals, SMBs and the economy since the pandemic started. That includes the $2 trillion CARES Act.
A survey found that 54 percent of SMBs are either shut down or plan to shut down due to the pandemic. And around 14 percent of U.S. workers have lost their jobs. Donohue, who works with a lobbying group which represents 400,000 SMBs, said about 1.5 million of the 30 million SMBs in the U.S. have received funding thus far.