As part of the never-before-seen, $2 trillion CARES Act stimulus package, the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) had a pool of $350 billion in funds reserved for potentially-forgivable small business loans. Unfortunately, as millions of small businesses desperately applied for funds when the gates opened for applications on April 3rd and funding finally began on the 10th, the entire pool of allocated money was drained by the 16th. The incredible popularity of the PPP loans left far too many small businesses high and dry. Now, the onus falls back on the government to approve the allocation of additional funds—but Congress isn’t known for its easy agreements and rapid progress.
What the Republicans Think
Accusations fly as Republicans blame Democrats for blocking the rapid release of additional PPP funds and accuse them of holding American workers as “political hostages.” The bigger the gap between the first and second round of PPP loan funding, the more small business owners will suffer.
While there has been a holdup of the intended immediate release of an additional $251 billion to boost the PPP pool, the Democrats have their reasons.
What the Democrats Think
When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed to add $251 billion to the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Senate Democrats put their foot down and insisted on making additional inclusions and establishing some ground rules.
While small businesses suffer, they’re not the only underfunded and overworked group to take a hit from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argues for additional funding for state and local governments and hospitals. Additionally, Democrats claim the PPP has been slow to help rural businesses and underserved groups—like businesses owned by veterans, women, and minorities.
What Other People Think
We need funding, and we need it now. Small businesses suffer and close up shop every day as Congress continues to bicker about policy specifics. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets for the people who genuinely need help. That said, we also need to ensure every single small business owner receives the funds they need to survive.
The government also needs to make guarantees that underserved and underrepresented business owners won’t be left behind. What’s more, they need to stop letting big corporations like the multiple-chain-owning Ruth’s Hospitality Group and Potbelly Corp. (with approximately 6,000 employees) take tens of millions of dollars from the funds reserved for struggling small businesses.
Everyone in this country suffers under the devastating social and economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We’re all fighting together to overcome the nigh-insurmountable challenges we face on a daily basis. We’re actively trying to urge our representatives to stop the death of small businesses. So it’s about time government officials quit their posturing, buckle down, and work together before the economic backbone of our beautiful country breaks and crumbles.