The Trump administration on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, urged Congress to approve an additional $250 billion in emergency economic aid for small US businesses, which was badly hit from the coronavirus pandemic. A Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared to push for the passage of a bill from congress as soon as Thursday.
In a posting on Twitter, the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote that he had consulted with congressional leaders to get their approval for the second round of funding for US small businesses.
The aid was part of a $2.3 trillion economic stimulus, which was enacted on March 27, in response to the virus outbreak and it would add to the $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses if the new proposal is approved by Congress.
Ahead of Mnuchin’s announcement, McConnell said in a statement, “It is quickly becoming clear that Congress will need to provide more funding or this crucial program may run dry.” He added that he would work with Mnuchin and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to get Senate approval on the proposed bill until Thursday.
However, it was yet uncertain that whether the top two Democrats in Congress, Schumer, and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would accept the timeline as they have been supportive of a broader set of measures that would comprise a fourth coronavirus-response bill since early March. Senate Small Business Committee Chairman Marco Rubio said in a statement, “There is a critical need to supplement the (loan) fund to ensure America’s more than 30 million small businesses will be able to access this critical lifeline,”
The proposed loan program was initiated to protect US small business operations from shrinking away due to the virus pandemic and aimed to encourage small enterprises to keep their employees on staff and to help them pay rent, mortgages, utilities, and other overhead costs.
The speaker, Pelosi on Monday consulted with key leaders of her Democratic majority about the process of the House committees regarding a bill that could add $1 trillion to the national economic stimulus of $2.3 trillion measure enacted last month.
A House Democratic aide said the legislation also would increase funding for federal agencies, such as the Labor Department and Small Business Administration, which are now dealing with explosive growth in unemployment and loan programs, respectively.
In a CNN interview, Pelosi said that she would ensure a range of financial institutions, including community and minority-owned banks, could participate in the loan program and to widen the lending to various businesses apart from the existing players. Meanwhile, some small restaurant operators have put their concerns and criticized that the loan program was structured in a way that it could benefit mostly the large companies and large franchisees.
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