Apr 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy backs adding hospital funding to small-business fund refresh

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told the Wall Street Journal Friday that he supports adding funding for hospitals alongside an additional $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), designed to help small businesses survive the coronavirus shutdown.

The state of play: McCarthy's signal could break a stalemate between Republicans and Democrats on refilling the PPP, which ran out of money on Thursday — just two weeks after it launched.

  • Democrats have argued that additional funding for hospitals, food assistance and state and local governments must be tacked on — citing mayors and governors who have pleaded for more federal aid — while Republicans have sought to fund only the PPP.
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin already said he was willing to work with Democrats on what they wanted to include in the bill.

What he's saying: "Hospitals need the help. Hospitals are the modern-day soldiers," McCarthy told the Journal.

  • "I’d like to see money in there — money in the PPP and money in hospitals — that would be a very smart move right now."
  • He added that he discussed pairing the hospital and PPP funding with President Trump, who he believed was open to the idea.
  • McCarthy also suggested additional funding for the separate Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for small businesses — another move Democrats have wanted to include.

Go deeper

Senate passes bill to ease PPP loan restrictions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday to loosen some of the rules that small businesses must follow when applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans.

By the numbers: Businesses now have 24 weeks to use loans obtained through the program, instead of eight weeks. Only 60% of a PPP loan now has to be used for payroll, instead of 75% — a requirement that "tens of thousands of borrowers" weren't expected to meet, per a recent inspector general report.

Cities' budget woes worsen with increased social unrest

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cities were already furloughing workers and considering cutting back essential services — including public safety — because of the dramatic drops in the local tax revenue that funds them. Now they're also dealing with turmoil in their streets.

Why it matters: "Unfortunately, the increasing levels of social unrest across the country reallocated efforts and scarce resources away from the former focus of getting state, regional and local economies back to some semblance of normalcy," per Tom Kozlik, head of municipal strategy and credit at HilltopSecurities.

The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut

Adam Hansmann (left) and Alex Mather (right), co-founders of The Athletic. Photo: Steph Gray, courtesy of The Athletic

The Athletic is laying off nearly 8% of staff, 46 people, according to an internal memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: It's the latest media company that's been been forced to take drastic measures to survive the economic fallout from the coronavirus. Like many sports media outlets, The Athletic has been particularly impacted by the loss of live sports.