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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

While business owners have largely praised the federal government's fast response and the good intent of the CARES Act, it has left much to be desired.

The state of play: It is believed that one of the reasons for the Fed's expanded lending under the Main Street facility is the struggles of the Paycheck Protection Program.

What it means: With the Small Business Administration overwhelmed by demand and many small business owners unable to access funding, PPP has been plagued by bad news since even before it launched.

Where it stands: "PPP was the right idea but it was intended to be a short-term measure and really needs structural changes that can, in addition to a major infusion of resources, give travel businesses and their workers a real chance to survive," Tori Barnes, executive VP of public affairs and policy at the U.S. Travel Association, said during a media briefing Thursday.

  • "There are many businesses with no customers, with no revenues that are left out altogether of PPP and the CARES Act."

Between the lines: By reducing the size of the loans it offers (which unlike PPP loans cannot be forgiven), the Fed's Main Street program allows medium-sized businesses direct access to its seemingly bottomless supply of cheap capital through financial institutions that take on, at most, 15% of the risk while the central bank shoulders the rest.

  • "By lowering the minimum loan size you’re going to be able to reach a lot of companies that would’ve been in that PPP range," Amanda Fischer, policy director for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, tells Axios.
  • "$500,000 is still bigger than the average PPP loan recipient, but this isn’t Wall Street levels of money."

Of note: The Fed also is buying PPP loans to clear them from bank balance sheets and allow more lending.

Go deeper: How many big companies got PPP loans

Go deeper

Updated Aug 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Republicans and Democrats react to Trump's coronavirus aid action

President Trump speaks to workers at a manufacturing facility in Clyde, Ohio, on Thursday. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing President Trump Saturday night for taking executive action on coronavirus aid, with Democratic leaders demanding the GOP return to negotiations after stimulus package talks broke down a day earlier.

Why it matters: Trump could face legal challenges on his ability to act without congressional approval, where the constitutional power lies on federal spending. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) was the most vocal Republican critic, saying in a statement: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."

Updated Aug 10, 2020 - World

PM prepares for "COVID election" as NZ marks 100 days of no community spread

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attends the launch of the Labour Party's election campaign in Auckland on Saturday. Photo: Michael Bradley/AFP via Getty Images

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — New Zealand has now gone 100 days with no detected community spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health confirmed in an emailed statement Sunday.

Why It Matters: New Zealanders are going to the polls on Sept. 19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been widely praised for her leadership that saw NZ lock down hard for several weeks before all domestic restrictions were lifted in June. She sees her government's response to and recovery from the coronavirus outbreak as key to her Labour Party being re-elected.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.