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Senate Passes Relief Bill, Funding for Small-Business Loans

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

The Senate passed by unanimous consent Tuesday afternoon an interim emergency relief bill to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, which ran out of money last week.

“This is a significant package,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor before the vote.

The bill includes $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.

“Even with the partisanship here, we can come together, unanimously, in a time of great crisis,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor, adding that a number of “required fixes” needed to be made.

The emergency funding package, Schumer said, “has been transformed to provide real support for the lives and livelihoods of the American people.”

In a letter sent Tuesday to colleagues, Schumer stated that in the interim emergency relief legislation, Democrats “have secured $220 billion above and beyond what Republicans proposed, including new funding for small businesses through community financial institutions, new funding for our health care system, and a substantial down-payment on a national testing regime, which experts say is necessary for reopening our economy.”

The agreement reached with the Trump administration is now “greatly improved,” Schumer said, and will include:

  • $60 billion in new SBA Paycheck Protection Program funding dedicated to small lenders and community-based financial institutions
  • $30 billion of these funds will assist Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, community-focused lending intermediaries and the smallest community banks and credit unions
  • $50 billion for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which will allow approximately $300 billion in loans to small businesses
  • $10 billion for the SBA’s Emergency Economic Injury Grant program
  • $75 billion in emergency money the health care system
  • $25 billion to increase testing and contact tracing capabilities.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., has indicated that the House is willing to come back to Washington to vote on the measure this week.

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