A key part of the $2 trillion rescue package was $350 million allocated towards loans to small businesses. Those Paycheck Protection Progream loans would be forgivable (becoming a grant) if the small business used the money to avoid layoffs or to recall previously laid-off employees.

The Paycheck Protection Program thus serves as a pass-through to workers, who get to keep their jobs and get paid during this transition period.

There have been complaints that the funds are not getting into the hands of small businesses fast enough, but the application numbers have been overwhelming. So much so that Trump has made clear that if the Paycheck Protection Program runs out of funds, he will immediately request additional funding for that program.

And so it is happening, with Senate Republicans moving towards a vote on Thursday to expand funding for the paycheck protection program.

But in a reprise of the demands that almost sank the original recue package, Nance Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are demaning funding unrelated to the paycheck protection program in order to allow an expansion of the program.

Politico reports:

Democratic leaders on Wednesday released their own set of demands for an “interim” coronavirus relief package poised to move through Congress this week, setting up a clash with congressional Republicans that threatens to stall the next installment of relief for the economy.

The early morning statement from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) asking for $250 billion in aid for hospitals and state and local governments plus the $250 billion desired by the Trump administration and Senate Republicans shows that the quick GOP push may be a messy affair.

The Senate Republican majority is planning to try and quickly approve the small business funds on Thursday to replenish the dwindling $350 billion Paycheck Protection Program. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked all 100 senators to signal whether they would object to a quarter trillion more money for small businesses by noon on Wednesday.

But Democrats say that’s not enough on its own….

Pelosi and Schumer said Wednesday they would agree to the GOP request if certain conditions are met, such as ensuring half of the small business funding flows through “community-based” banks that serve women and minority-owned businesses. The two top Democrats want an additional $100 billion for hospitals and health centers as medical providers across the country are still struggling to secure enough personal protective equipment to safely treat the influx of coronavirus patients.

Democrats also want $150 billion in additional funding for state and local governments to fight the pandemic and an increase in the amount of federal food aid families can claim during this emergency.

This is the sort of thing that pissed people off the first time Pelosi/Schumer pulled this. The Paycheck Protection Program already was passed, it’s already law, why not just increase funding if needed. If there are other unrelated needs, such as increasing aid to states and hospitals (which already received a lot of money in the last bill), those can be addressed without hostage taking.

 

 
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