While small businesses around Navajo and Apache counties, Arizona and the United States are facing immense uncertainty, funds have run dry for the Payroll Protection Program, a forgivable, low-interest loan program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The program launched on April 3 with $349 billion as part of the CARES Act but was tapped-out within days. Now, for over a week, lawmakers have been debating the particulars of its expansion, deflected by political and policy details.

The expansion proposal could include a $250 billion refill of the PPP. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republican senators were ready to vote Thursday, but Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were asking for additional funding for programs that had not run out.

Much of the news coverage about PPP running out of funds discusses the impact on small businesses, but the silent casualty of the beleaguered program is the American worker.

Over 5 million Americans applied for unemployment last week, bringing the four-week total to over 22 million. With the rescue program’s expansion stuck in stalemate on Capitol Hill, it’s hard to imagine what that number could climb to.

Small businesses employ over 50% of the country’s workers and are the ones in greatest need of Payroll Protection Program funds.

While social distancing appears to have slowed the spread of the coronavirus, we need our lawmakers to keep our economy intact. The economic aftermath of COVID-19 could leave many businesses closed forever, and the jobs they required evaporated with them.

Congress should move to pass immediately a $250 billion expansion of the Payroll Protection Program and debate other matters separately.

(7) comments

ronzim

[tongue]Nice editorial.

phxnative54

So who got PPP funds? Ruth's Chris restaurant chain, with over 5,000 employees, got $20 million. But what about the $10 million cap, you ask? They applied from two different subsidiaries within the same company. Many other large restaurant and hotelier chains also received large sums. THAT is why we need better oversight of where the money goes.

ArizAl

The problem to what you, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy suggest Brian, is that once republican in congress get all the funding for business, they will not care about helping out others in need or reforming the distribution of funds so that the actual real life small businesses do get the help this time around. An excerpt from politco April 13,2020:

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said over the weekend that they would keep trying to pass the "clean" GOP bill, which would provide an additional $250 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), appearing to reject a Democratic push to negotiate a larger package. The program, which got $350 billion as part of the third coronavirus relief bill, provides loans and grants for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.

“We will continue to seek a clean PPP funding increase. We hope our Democratic colleagues familiarize themselves with the facts and the data before the program runs dry,” they added.

But Democrats, while saying they aren't opposed to more small-business money, want it to be paired with an additional $100 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for state and local governments and a boost in food assistance funding.

"Small businesses, hospitals, frontline workers and state and local governments across the country are struggling to keep up with this national crisis. They need more help from the federal government and they need it fast. ... While the Trump Administration struggles to figure out how to distribute the funds provided for in the CARES Act, it’s clear that those appropriated amounts will not be enough to cover the tremendous need," Schumer and Pelosi said on Monday.

Democrats also want to make changes to the PPP, ensuring that half of the new $250 billion in funding goes through "community-based financial institutions that serve farmers, family, women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses." Democrats have raised concerns that the current setup of the program favors larger businesses with existing connections to a lender.

“Further changes must also be made to the SBA’s [Small Business Administration] assistance initiative, as many eligible small businesses continue to be excluded from the Paycheck Protection Program by big banks with significant lending capacity," Pelosi and Schumer said, while agreeing that more money for the program is needed to "satisfy the hundreds of billions in oversubscribed demand."

The stalemate between leadership in both parties comes as nearly half of the initial $350 billion has already been obligated." Additionally Brian, one of the things that the congress, the public, independent regulation agencies should all be on the look out for is that those emergency funds from the taxpayers not be used for "Play for Pay" political purposes.

Scott53

The American worker...not the American government employee who sits at their desk with no income loss during this man made mess. Every day we see new projections of illness or death, but what we dont see or read about is the number of people about too, if not already have, lose their means of making a living and feeding their families. Nothing about the shops, restaurants and stores are hanging on by a thread. This country is nearing a economical collapse and all they tell us is is "not yet." Really I say? Politicians threatening revenge for going about our lives in a normal manner, how dare we ordinary people buck the system. Yeah,yeah, just keep printing money for more handouts, always worked for the Soviet Union. The People of the great country better wake up. What are we all gonna do when we're dead broke, mortgage due, car payment due, kids tuition due,medical payments piling up? One word tells who is responsible at all levels...this disease and this economic mess......"Government". Yet we still think their here to make our lives better dont we? Um sure.

2rusty

I THINK I agree with you, Scott53. This scamdemic has ruined our economy and the dems still have their hands out for more taxpayer dollars. For them, it's Socialisn or Bust. Did I hear you correctly?

ronzim

Thanks to Scott53 for spotlighting an important responsibility for this “mess”- in his own words -“government”. Viruses which rapidly expand into global pandemics do not arise from government actions. These viruses usually reside in animal populations and make an often-disastrous leap into the human genome by accidental exposures or risky human behavior which provides the necessary vector for transference. It is true that, in some cases, there may be a government jurisdiction which failed in its duty to ensure maximum public safety by allowing viral-friendly conditions to flourish, such as the “wet” markets in Wuhan, China. We also know that Chinese officials were recklessly slow in releasing information about the original infection.

Once the viral cat was out of the bag, our own government was remiss in its too slow response which allowed for a far more rapid initial transmission rate than would otherwise have occurred. Virtually every expert source of information validates that failure on the part of the feds. We now have further incidents of government failures which bode ill for our ability to repress this virus and end the pandemic. This takes the form of governments abandoning the very social distancing practices, in concert with testing, tracing and isolation, which have led to what success we have thus far had.

It is my opinion that those who are responsible for these dangerous and premature “openings” should be charged with voluntary manslaughter because their precipitate actions will lead inevitably to increases in infections and deaths which would not have occurred absent their criminal actions. I also urge everyone who might succumb to these irresponsibility’s to ignore them and stay home. In addition, I ask that their more responsible neighbors bring lawsuits against them for the illnesses and deaths they so eagerly court, and which will spread into other states due to viral opportunism

ronzim

Al: [thumbup][tongue][rolleyes][wink]

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