Senate Approves Extending Paycheck Protection Program

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday night to increase a federal mortgage program by 5 further weeks, a shock transfer that may enable small companies weathering the pandemic to continue receiving aid.

Less than 4 hours earlier than the Paycheck Protection Program was scheduled to finish with greater than $130 billion in mortgage cash unspent, the Senate permitted extending the appliance interval till Aug. 8.

The laws now heads to the House, which had completed voting earlier than the invoice cleared the Senate, and would require President Trump’s signature for this system to proceed. Members of each chambers are anticipated to go away Washington for the Fourth of July and should not set to completely return for 2 weeks.

“The resources are there,” stated Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland and one of many architects of this system, which provides low-interest loans to assist small companies preserve their payrolls. “The need is there. We just need to change the date.”

The surprising approval of the extension, which required settlement from all 100 senators, got here as lawmakers started to debate the contours of one other coronavirus aid bundle. With a number of elements of the $2.2 trillion stimulus regulation set to run out on the finish of July and new outbreaks forcing many states to gradual efforts to reopen their economies, lawmakers broadly acknowledge that one other measure will probably be obligatory.

“I came here thinking that we would not be able to get agreement,” stated Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, who joined Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, and different senators concerned in this system’s creation on the Senate ground on Tuesday night.

Of the initiatives created by the stimulus regulation, the Paycheck Protection Program has emerged as a bipartisan centerpiece regardless of a chaotic begin. Facing a deluge of requests for help, this system ran out of cash, and Congress moved in April to inject a further $320 billion into it. Already, this system, administered by the Small Business Administration, has allotted $520 billion in loans to just about 5 million companies nationwide.

Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, told lawmakers on Tuesday that he had been discussing the potential for repurposing the funds left in this system, “extending it to businesses that are most hard hit, that had a requirement that their revenues have dropped significantly, things like restaurants and hotels and others where it is critical they get people back to work.”

The bipartisan group of lawmakers who helped draft this system have already began debating tips on how to tackle it in future laws. Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, raised the prospect on Tuesday of requiring any new loans to be directed solely towards companies whose revenues have fallen, although he permitted passage of the extension with out that concern being addressed.

“Obviously, we’ll have to be more targeted at truly small businesses and, in addition to that, I’m also developing a program to provide financing for businesses in underserved communities or opportunity zones and other ZIP codes that would fall in that category,” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida and the chairman of the Small Business Committee, stated earlier than the extension on Tuesday.

“We’re talking to the White House about it,” he added. “They’ve expressed to us that they have no intent of repurposing that money for something else, but our hope is that we can use that as the sort of foundation for building a second round of assistance in a more targeted way.”

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