Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is calling for the Senate to unanimously pass new small-business aid amid a stalemate among leaders in the upper chamber over the scope of the package.
“The PPP program is going to run out of funding soon — the Senate should approve add’l funding by unanimous consent ASAP. Small businesses need our help to survive during this emergency,” Sinema tweeted Thursday morning, referring to the Paycheck Protection Program.
The PPP program is going to run out of funding soon – the Senate should approve add’l funding by unanimous consent ASAP. Small businesses need our help to survive during this emergency. https://t.co/kYTbjGHCXM
— Kyrsten Sinema (@kyrstensinema) April 16, 2020
The program, which was given $350 billion in a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package passed by Congress last month, provides loans and grants to businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
The Small Business Administration announced on Thursday morning that it was no longer able to accept new loans, signaling that it had burned through the initial $350 billion.
Administration officials and lawmakers have warned that the agency would quickly run out of money due to the high level of interest from businesses affected by the coronavirus, which has devastated large sectors of the economy.
But an influx of $250 billion in new funding for the program is currently stuck in limbo.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRepublicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out Business loan funds almost exhausted as Schumer, Mnuchin wrestle over deal Trump threatens to adjourn both chambers of Congress MORE (R-Ky.) wants to pass the funding as a stand-alone bill. Democratic leadership, however, wants to add in $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for states and a boost in food assistance funding.
Both plans were blocked in the Senate last week, with Democrats objecting to passing the small-business funding on its own and McConnell objecting to a request to add the additional unrelated money into the package.
Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinRepublicans go on attack as loans for small businesses start to run out Business loan funds almost exhausted as Schumer, Mnuchin wrestle over deal On The Money: Small business lending funds nearly depleted | Trump says White House to release guidelines on relaxing social distancing Thursday | Fed’s efforts on coronavirus raise eyebrows MORE and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerStacey Abrams throws support behind vote-by-mail efforts Former MSNBC host explains why UBI is a ventilator for U.S. economy in a crisis Hispanic Caucus demands protections for agricultural workers in next coronavirus bill MORE (D-N.Y.) have been negotiating to try to get an agreement and are expected to continue talking on Thursday.
The Senate will meet again at 3 p.m. on Thursday, giving Republicans another chance to try to pass the new funding. But because they have to try to pass it by unanimous consent — senators are in the middle of a five-week recess — any one member will be able to block the funds from passing.