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Chamber of Commerce president Suzanne Clark told Axios on Thursday that Congress' replenishment of the Paycheck Protection Program loan fund will not be enough to sustain small businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: The PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) is meant to help small businesses weather the toll of closures and economic pain from the coronavirus restrictions.

  • The Senate passed a $484 billion interim coronavirus funding bill on Tuesday that allocated $322 billion towards replenishing the program. The House will vote on it Thursday evening.

Clark said Congress will have to allocate "at least another $250 billion" in order to hold small businesses over: "They can't start working on the next round fast enough."

  • Clark said that gradual re-openings are inevitable, stating: "We're free enterprise people, so we don't think this is going to be government aid and assistance forever."
  • "We have to help people who are in real pain right now, and then we have to sensibly and safely reopen so that Americans have access to their paychecks again," she added.

Note: Axios qualified for a loan under this program. More details here.

Go deeper

South Carolina caterer: Loans kept many businesses afloat during COVID pandemic

Axios' Sara Fischer (L) and Sameka Jenkins, owner Carolima’s Lowcountry Cuisine. Photo: Axios screenshot.

Many small businesses would have gone under without financial aid during widespread closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Carolima’s Lowcountry Cuisine owner Sameka Jenkins said at an Axios virtual event Tuesday.

Zoom in: Jenkins said her South Carolina-based company received an Economic Injury Disaster Loan from the Small Business Administration to ease the financial effects of the crisis.

Updated Jul 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden says John Lewis asked him to "heal the country"

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden summoned the spirit of John Lewis, the congressman and civil rights hero, as he unveiled his own economic plan to address structural inequalities in America.

The big picture: At a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said Lewis told him on his deathbed that Americans should "stay focused on the work left undone to heal this nation and to remain undaunted by the public health crisis and economic crisis."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse under scrutiny for elite club affiliations

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse during a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in February. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Image

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement Wednesday that he is a member of an exclusive Rhode Island sailing club that lacks diversity.

Why it matters: Whitehouse has repeatedly spoken out against systemic racism and come under scrutiny this week for his family's affiliation with elite clubs. This is the second such club accused of lacking diversity that the senator has been linked to in recent days