On Tuesday the U.S. Senate approved a second COVID-19 relief bill for $484 billion that is expected be signed by the U.S. House on Thursday, then finalized by President Trump.
The second small business relief bill for the U.S. economy over the last month bolsters the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and looks to keep more small businesses from shuttering during the coronavirus pandemic, keeping additional employees from going on unemployment benefits.
“We’ve had tremendous support for the PPP,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the White House on Tuesday, estimating that the program has saved 30 million jobs.
The $484 billion bill would provide an additional $320 billion to small businesses, with $60 billion earmarked especially for community-based lenders, smaller banks and credit unions to assist smaller businesses without established relationships with big banks.
The legislation includes $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for a new coronavirus testing program, provisions Democrats held out for prior to senate approval, in addition to additional funding for state and local governments and food stamp benefits. Republicans and Democrats are reportedly working on an additional relief measure following the second PPP effort.
“Democrats flipped this emergency package from an insufficient Republican plan that left behind hospitals and health and frontline workers and did nothing to aid the survival of the most vulnerable small businesses on Main Street,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Congressional Republicans blamed Democrats for the funding lapse and delayed House approval.
“I am encouraged that Democratic leaders have finally agreed to reopen the Paycheck Protection Program and abandon a number of their unrelated demands,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “Republicans never wanted this crucial program for workers and small businesses to shut down. We tried to pass additional funding a week before it lapsed. But Democratic leaders blocked the money and spent days trying to negotiate extraneous issues that were never on the table.”
President Trump on Twitter said he is waiting to sign the bill.
“I urge the Senate and House to pass the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act with additional funding for PPP, Hospitals, and Testing,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “After I sign this Bill, we will begin discussions on the next Legislative Initiative with fiscal relief to State/Local Governments for lost revenues from COVID 19, much needed Infrastructure Investments for Bridges, Tunnels, Broadband, Tax Incentives for Restaurants, Entertainment, Sports, and Payroll Tax Cuts to increase Economic Growth.”
The previous PPP bill, launched April 3, resulted in the processing of 1.6 million loan applications before funding ran out.
To learn more about the U.S. Small Business Association relief loans go to sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources.
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