WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Congress is one step closer to re-filling the Paycheck Protection Program, which grants money to small businesses to keep them afloat during the pandemic.
The fund ran out last week, but new money could be approved by the end of this week.
It appears the Senate will vote to approve new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, which doles out grant money to shuttered small businesses to pay their employees during the pandemic.
“I think this agreement, this bipartisan agreement, today is a good step,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Brown said he is satisfied with the deal, which includes $310 billion for the PPP, plus an extra $75 billion for hospitals and another $25 billion for coronavirus testing.
“I’m hopeful the House will move quickly on this as they have in the past,” he said.
Indiana Republican Rep. Larry Buschon also supports the plan.
“The stuff that’s in there, I don’t have a problem with,” he said.
But some House Democrats, including Ohio’s Tim Ryan, don’t think it goes far enough
“We need a trillion dollars, at least, for small businesses,” Ryan said.
Other Democrats said they’re concerned the measure doesn’t include funding for local and state governments.
“I get small businesses, I get airlines,” New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “How about police? How about fire? How about healthcare workers.”
And some Republicans, like Bushon, also worry the plan adds on to the country’s debt, even before all the money from the CARES Act is used up.
“But if that’s what it takes to get the PPP program replenished, then I think it’s a fair compromise and I’ll support it,” he said.
House members say they expect to return to Washington for a vote by the end of the week.
(This story was originally published on April 21, 2020)