Coronavirus response: More help on way for small businesses, lawmakers say

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Lawmakers are asking for more funding for small businesses to survive the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. They say despite a rocky start, the new emergency program has been a success.

“Well there’s been some glitches,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Wednesday.

The Republican Florida senator says after a bumpy start, the emergency loan program to save small businesses during the coronavirus crisis is up and running. And it’s about to run through the $350 billion earmarked for the loans.

“At the pace that we’re going, the program is going to hit its cap a lot sooner than expected,” Rubio added.

Rubio helped craft the “Paycheck Protection Program.”

Since its launch last Friday, Rubio says the program has received more than 200,000 applications from small businesses.

Now he and Senate colleagues like Thom Tillis of North Carolina say Congress needs to approve more money to keep the program afloat.

“Now we’re gonna talk about $250 billion more. I think it’s a great first step and it’s a great sign that businesses are stepping up and seeking the support,” Sen. Tillis (R-NC) said.

The senators say small business owners should not worry about the program running out of cash.

But some Democrats say they are worried that some businesses are being shut out.

“Banks are prioritizing their existing clients,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) said Wednesday.

The Democratic Virginia Congresswoman sent a letter to the Treasury Secretary and SBA Administrator urging them to approve all eligible loan applications.

“I know that the folks in the administration are working around the clock with lenders of all sizes to make sure those issues are resolved,” Treasury Department Spokeswoman Monica Crowley said.

Rubio says the Senate is prepared to inject more money into the program now.

“If it doesn’t then there will be some real panic.”

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