Small Businesses Looking for Help Get Bad News

Fund established by Congress runs out of money, and lawmakers can't agree on next steps
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2020 10:35 AM CDT
Fund for Small Businesses Runs Out of Money
A closed sign hangs in the window of a shop in Portsmouth, NH.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Owners of small businesses who are turning to a government website for help in the coronavirus outbreak now see the worst possible update: "SBA is unable to accept new applications at this time ... based on available appropriations funding," reads the notice by the Small Business Administration. The problem is that a $350 billion loan program set up to provide a lifeline to such businesses already has run out of money, reports the Wall Street Journal. Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree on the need to add more money, but they're at an impasse on the details. Republicans want to add $250 billion to the program as is, but Democrats are pushing to expand the program and add money for hospitals, food stamp recipients, and cities and states, per the Washington Post.

The dispute has led to nasty partisan accusations. "In just 12 days this program has approved over $300 billion in aid and now it's frozen, it stops, and it's ridiculous," GOP Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday. "It's being held hostage for things unrelated to it." President Trump, meanwhile, tweeted that Nancy Pelosi was a "weak and pathetic puppet" and demanded that she "come back to Washington and do your job!" Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, accuse Republicans of "posturing" and say they need to work with them on a deal, per the Hill. The SBA initiative, called the Paycheck Protection Program, is part of the $2.2 trillion relief bill signed by Trump last month. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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