WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The loan program aimed to help small businesses has already exhausted its $349 billion initial allotment.
- While several officials have called for the immediate release of additional funds, both parties still have some disagreements.
- Democrats want to add some restrictions to prioritize hospitals and local governments, while Republicans want no restrictions whatsoever.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) aimed to help small businesses through loans has exhausted its $349 billion initial allotment on Thursday morning.
The loan program was just launched on Friday, April 3.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) said that more than 4,900 lending institutions have approved more than 1.62 million loan applications totaling $349 billion.
Only a very small portion of the $349 billion has already been sent to the recipients, however.
According to several small-business owners, they have had trouble with the application process, especially in big banks.
The question now is whether the government will add more money to the program. There are still many others in need who were not able to apply.
On Wednesday evening, SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that “The SBA has processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days.”
They both called on Congress to “appropriate additional funds” for the PPP so that they can resume processing “loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks.”
Both parties agree on adding more money to the PPP pool, but they disagree over some conditions. Republicans want to add $250 billion to the program, with no conditions. But Democrats want to add some restrictions to make sure that underbanked businesses, hospitals, and state and local governments are prioritized.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell argued on Tuesday, “There is no time to insist on sweeping renegotiations or ultimatums.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also called for the immediate release of another $250 billion.
Meanwhile, Michigan Sen. Gary Peters told Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith on Wednesday, “It’s beyond me why we can’t come together. I don’t know why the Republicans are opposed to helping hospitals and why they’re opposed to helping state and local governments that are struggling right now… We want to make sure the money is definitely going to those businesses that need it the most.”