Congress clashes over funding for small business loan program

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A federal loan program for small businesses is out of cash.

Small business owners looking for an emergency coronavirus loan are getting this message on the Small Business Administration website:

“The SBA is currently unable to accept new applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding. Similarly, we are unable to enroll new PPP lenders at this time.”

The federally-funded “Paycheck Protection Program” ran out of money Thursday morning.

“There is concern, there’s fear,” Rep. Ross Spano (R-FL-15) said Thursday.

Spano said Congress knew this was coming and tried without success to pass an additional $250 billion in funding last week. That’s in addition to the $350 billion the program already went through.

Spano said if lawmakers don’t figure it out soon, small businesses could shut their doors for good.

“Within the next two months, three and half million small businesses could close,” he added.

On Thursday, the Labor Department announced 5 million more Americans filed for unemployment last week.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said this isn’t a time to play politics.

“I cannot understand after watching another 5 million get unemployed, how Speaker Pelosi continues to say no,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats want to say yes but they also want Republicans to agree to include more money for health care workers and city and state governments.

“Well we think they all need the resources,” Pelosi said Thursday.

Spano is telling Florida business owners to hang in there.

“I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to get an agreement that will allocate these necessary funds in these next several days,” Spano added.

The White House tweeted that “Congress must increase funding for the program – immediately.”

The Senate may try again to pass the bill next week.

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