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As the U.S. economy stared into the pandemic abyss in March 2020, Congress passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package that included the Paycheck Protection Program to quickly get forgivable loans to small businesses to keep workers on payrolls.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the formation and roll out of the PPP, from multi-day negotiations and late-night phone calls to estimates of how many businesses the program helped, with former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Plus, a conversation about pandemic survival with Dayna Frank, CEO of legendary Minneapolis music club First Avenue.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
May 25, 2021 - Economy & Business

America's small business post-pandemic comeback

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Main Street is finally beginning to rebuild from the hurricane that barely glanced Wall Street.

Between the lines: Small businesses are always particularly exposed when crisis hits, due to limited cash buffers, according to JPMorgan Chase Institute, which tracks anonymized credit and debit card data.

Scoop: Israeli spy chief in talks to join Mnuchin's investment fund

Then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in January. Photo. Emil Salman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The boss of Israel's spy agency has been in private talks with former Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin about joining his investment fund that will work with Gulf countries, two sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Yossi Cohen, director of the Mossad, is retiring next week. But the discussions between him and Mnuchin occurred while he was still serving in his government role, which also included handling Israel's ties with Gulf countries such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, these sources said.

May 25, 2021 - Podcasts

America's Business Comeback: A year of protest and progress

George Floyd's murder, one year ago today, and the subsequent surge of support for Black-owned small businesses "had an unprecedented impact," according to Shelly Bell, CEO of Black Girl Ventures.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Bell in the second of a six-part series, America's Business Comeback, about what 2020 meant for Black-owned small businesses and where things stand now. We also share the first of our conversations with proprietors of some of America's most iconic small businesses.