The Federal Reserve is taking additional steps to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy, per the AP. The money will target American households and businesses, as well as local governments besieged by the coronavirus outbreak. The Fed said Thursday that it's activating a Main Street Business Lending Program authorized by the CARES Act, the largest economic relief package ever passed by Congress. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed's role was to "provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity." In in a webcast from the Brookings Institution, Powell said there was "every reason to believe that the economic rebound, when it comes, can be robust" because the economy was doing well before the virus hit.
Among the actions taken Thursday, the Fed activated a loan program for municipal governments, as well as additional support for the Paycheck Protection Program, which the Small Business Administration rolled out last week. The program provides loans to businesses with fewer than 500 employees. The moves "take the Fed well beyond the lender-of-last-resort functions it played in 2008 to prevent a financial panic from deepening the economic downturn," per the Wall Street Journal. The government's pay protection plan for small businesses is off to a rocky start: Businesses have had difficulty getting banks to provide the loans. The banks have said that the government hasn't made clear how they should process such loans, including on what forms businesses are required to use.
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