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Senate fails to pass additional funding for small businesses

PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

On Thursday, Democrats blocked Senator Mitch McConnell’s request for an additional $250 billion in funding to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). 

“There is only one part of the CARES Act that is already at risk of exhausting it’s funding right now: the Paycheck Protection Program,” McConnell said, speaking to an empty Senate chamber. “Soon, I will ask unanimous consent to increase the Paycheck Protection Program… to $600 billion.”

In just a few days, over $100 billion has been approved in loans to small businesses. Concerns have quickly surfaced that the program will soon run out of money, but Democrats argue that negotiations must take place to amend additional parts of the CARES Act. 

Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) said the PPP has not yet run out of money, though programs such as the Idle Program, the Emergency Disaster Relief loan program, and grant programs through the SBA need additional funding to process the number of claims filed by small businesses.

Cardin also brought up issues small businesses have faced with the PPP, stating some have been denied loans by banks due lack of a credit card, no previous loan, and no existing customer status. These issues are faced specifically in rural communities and with community banks.

McConnell blocked the request made by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) to negotiate funds to supplement hospitals and local governments in addition to small businesses. 

“Do not block emergency aid you do not oppose just because you want something more,” McConnell urged the Senate floor.

The Senate stands adjourned until April 13 at 10 a.m.

PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

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