U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is issuing a series of suggestions for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) as that program remains in limbo due to lack of funding.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) ran out of money this week to administer the program. Congressional leaders are now working on a deal to replenish those funds.
Now, Rubio has authored a letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin pushing them to contemplate improvements to the program while negotiations are underway.
Among those suggestions are pushes to approve new lenders during the funding lapse and release additional guidance outlining the terms for how loans will be forgiven. Rubio also wants nonbank lenders to be able to administer loans to underserved communities.
“It is unfortunate that partisanship by congressional Democrats is holding up new funds for PPP, putting the livelihoods of millions of Americans at risk,” Rubio wrote.
“Once this partisan game is over, the serious work of saving jobs and small businesses can resume. Though funding for the authorization of PPP loans has been exhausted, the funding of your agencies’ operating budgets in the CARES Act and other FY 2020 appropriations legislation has not yet been depleted, and should be used to continue to build capacity for PPP given its forthcoming increase in funds.”
Congress allocated $349 billion for the program, which aimed to help small businesses hold onto workers amid the economic slowdown caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Republicans warned, however, that the program may need more funding. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed those concerns as a “stunt.”
Democrats reportedly want additional funding for hospitals in the proposed package, as well as additional finances for state and local governments to replenish funds lost due to the virus.
That remains a real concern in the city of Miami. Commissioner Ken Russell called for federal assistance Monday.
“Otherwise, we certainly will be in dire straits financially down the road,” he said.
Still, Republicans like Rubio have urged Democrats to drop those demands and simply issue additional PPP funding.
“The successful operation of the Paycheck Protection Program by the Department of Treasury and the Small Business Administration has saved millions of jobs and hundreds of thousands of small businesses from bankruptcy,” Rubio’s letter continued.
“The countless hours of work small businesses, lenders, and your staffs have completed in the last two weeks are the foundation of this program. You have my gratitude and the gratitude of millions of Americans. Now is the time to prepare for the next phase of America’s small business recovery.”