As PPP Ends, Marco Rubio Wonders What To Do With $130 Billion Left Over ... Sometime ... In The Future
Last night at midnight was the deadline for applications for the Paycheck Protection Program, the gigantic loan program that was aimed at saving America's small businesses, as well as America's large businesses that actually got much of the money. Even though the economy is in the toilet, tens of millions of Americans are unemployed, and some 100,000 small businesses have folded altogether, the PPP program is shutting down with about $130 billion in funds unused. So, as the Washington Post explains, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) are "leading a group considering how best to use the remaining funds to help small businesses as they begin to reopen." They'll have a little time to figure it out, though, because even though lots of Americans are hurting and the resurgence of COVID-19 in many states is putting "reopening" plans on hold, Mitch McConnell doesn't plan on starting work on a new stimmy bill until late July. What's the rush?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin thinks it would be dandy to reallocate the unused PPP funds, and told the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday that the Great Man thinks so, too.
"I've already had conversations with the SBA committee in the Senate about re-purposing that $135 billion and think that should be done, and look forward to working with both the House and the Senate so we can pass legislation by the end of July," Mnuchin said.
The aim should be "extending it to businesses that are most hard-hit, that have requirements that their revenues have dropped significantly — things like restaurants and hotels and others where it is critical to get people back to work," Mnuchin said.
Hurting businesses that aren't hurting so badly that they fail before August should look forward to some help, hooray!
Rubio's working on legislation that would let some businesses that already got a taste of the sweet, sweet stimmy have another go, as long as they can prove they were hurt by the pandemic. Maybe the bill would also allow "chambers of commerce to apply" for relief funds, too, because why not? What about Rotary clubs, too, if they haven't all been replaced by digital yet.
Not every idea being kicked around sucks entirely, we suppose; WaPo says it got a draft of the bill, which would
also set aside $25 billion for businesses with fewer than 10 employees and formally prevent hotel or restaurant chains from receiving more than $2 million total.
In addition to Rubio's draft bill, there's also a proposal introduced a few weeks back by Cardin and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) that would extend the PPP deadline another six months, while making sure the remaining billions would only go to small small businesses that are in especially bad straits:
The bill would restrict new lending to small businesses with 100 employees or less, significantly lower than the 500-employee cap that applies under current rules. And in a significant departure from current rules it would restrict lending to businesses that had already received and spent a PPP loan, requiring them to prove a revenue reduction of 50 percent or more.
Rubio told the Post Monday that he might consider that, but preferred new programs tailored to helping businesses as the country reopens, assuming it's still doing that anymore and we're not all just keeling over forever. For instance, loans could go to restaurants wanting to "build sidewalk seating or reconfigure their dining rooms for social distancing."
"PPP has been widely successful. There are more companies that could benefit from it. It would be great if extending the deadline would help them. But my sense is the greater need right now is in companies that have received that assistance but now need new or different kinds of assistance," Rubio said.
The Post also spoke to one recipient of a PPP loan, a Tucson accountant named Jonathan Miller, who said the PPP program was super-helpful in tiding his outfit over while his five employees worked from home, but now there's a bit of a new challenge, since a number of his clients are just plain going out of business.
Hey! Maybe we should still think about PAYING EVERYBODY TO STAY HOME AND NOT GET SICK while we get the disease under control, huh? Haha, we have some crazy notions, don't we?
In addition to Senate Republicans thinking about maybe, someday, not too soon, doing more stimmy, Donald Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow (R-CNBC) suggested the administration might offer "tax deductions for for sightseeing and tourism," so that people could get out and See The USA in their PPE. Kudlow also offered other very innovative ideas for a possible new stimmy bill, which were mostly old ideas that Republicans keep returning to like the proverbial vomiting dog, such as these fresh notions as collected by the Washington Post's Jeff Stein:
- Payroll tax holiday
- Capital gains tax cut
- Business investment incentives
- State and local aid of some kind
- Deductions for restaurants/business expenses/"baseball games"
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