Apr 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week

Sen. Mitch McConnell in the Oval Office with President Trump

Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he will be working with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to increase funding for the Payroll Protection Program, the federal backstop to help small businesses maintain operations and keep workers employed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The $350 billion lending program — which opened for business last Friday — has had a highly problematic rollout, with banks and small businesses alike expressing frustration about system crashes and a lack of direction from the federal government. As the program proceeds, it's become clear that the initial funding wouldn't be nearly enough.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Felix Salmon: The Payroll Protection Program looks set to be one of the most popular and effective ways of getting stimulus money into Americans' hands. The rollout has been predictably rocky, but this move should at least lengthen the amount of time before cash runs out.

What they're saying: In a statement, McConnell said he is aiming to get funding approved this week, and hopes to pass the measure through unanimous consent or a voice vote, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • “It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry," McConnell said. "That cannot happen.”
  • Small Business Committee Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted: "We will need at least another $200-$250 billion for #PPPloan."

Go deeper: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start

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