The Senate will push this week for more money for a small business loan program to keep workers on companies' payrolls during the coronavirus pandemic, as the program cannot be allowed to run dry, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, while President Donald Trump is calling for another $250 billion to be allocated.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted Tuesday afternoon that at Trump's direction, he's spoken with McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to secure an additional $250 billion for the program to "make sure small businesses get the money they need."
"It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry," said McConnell in his announcement, reports CNN. "That cannot happen. Nearly 10 million Americans filed for unemployment in just the last two weeks. This is already a record-shattering tragedy and every day counts."
Congress already has allotted about $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which allows small businesses to borrow money for overhead and to meet payroll for employees who were suddenly out of work when their businesses were shut down over the coronavirus outbreak. Companies keeping people on their payroll through the funds will have the loans forgiven.
McConnell said he'll work with Schumer and Mnuchin to approve the funding boost. Earlier on Tuesday, White House Economic Council Adviser Larry Kudlow said that since last Friday, when the loans opened, more than $50 billion has been approved.
Pelosi Tuesday afternoon told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she had told House Democrats that $2 trillion, approved through the CARES Act, would not be enough money to handle the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and that another $1 trillion would be needed in the fourth round of relief legislation.
Pelosi also said that she does not think the initial bill's $1,200 to Americans was not enough, and that work is being done in a bipartisan way to help more, but she also reiterated that oversight must be done to make sure that everyone who qualifies for help has access to it.
"I want to make sure we are connected with our financial institutions that are going to smaller minority and businesses in the rural community," said Pelosi, adding that community and minority banks also must have access to capital.
“We want to make sure the program is administered in a way that does not solidify inequality in how people have access to capital, but instead, a benefit to everyone who qualifies," Pelosi said.
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