4/23/20 Update: President signs bill
President Donald Trump just signed the fourth round of stimulus funding into law. The new package will provide more than $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Interestingly, about $60 billion of the additional PPP funding will be reserved for businesses that do not have established banking relationships. These are going to be companies like those in rural areas and also minority-owned companies.
And also importantly, according to Reuters, the “Treasury secretary promised surveillance to stop bigger companies from accessing the funds.”
Some people have argued that big companies taking these funds is not a problem because the funds are still going to pay for employees’ wages.
My biggest issue with big companies taking these funds is that they have alternative paths to acquiring funds such as through investors. Several of these giant companies have been able to put together millions of dollars in a very short time span just by asking or by tapping into large cash reserves that small businesses just don’t have.
So it’s good to see that they are going to scrutinize bigger companies although I wonder how effective that higher level of scrutiny will actually be.
4/23/20 Update: House passes bill
The House of Representatives voted Thursday (388-5) to approve the roughly $480 billion package to deliver aid to small businesses and hospitals and expand virus testing. With this new bill, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will receive $310 billion in additional funding.
The bill now needs to go to President Donald Trump to be signed and then we should see these programs back in action very soon.
Hopefully, these funds are administered more fairly than they were previously when large publicly traded corporations received funds (some of which like Ruth’s Chris and Shake Shack have given them back).
Some banks, such as JP Morgan, are also being sued for favoring larger companies over small ones, presumably in order to collect processing fees. So we will see if the administration of this next round of PPP loans is smoother.
4/21/20 Update: Senate passes bill
The Senate just passed the fourth stimulus package worth $480 billion that will contain more funds for small businesses. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will receive $310 billion and applications and distribution of these loans will resume soon.
Of the $310 billion authorized for the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion is getting set aside for smaller lending facilities, including “community financial institutions, small insured depository institutions and credit unions with assets less than $10 billion.”
There will also be $10 billion for grants under the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, $50 billion for disaster recovery loans, and $2.1 billion for additional salaries and expenses for the Small Business Administration.
Hopefully, this round of funding does not go out to large publicly traded companies like millions did in the first round.
A lot of funds will also be distributed to hospitals ($75 billion) and will go towards testing ($75 billion). With respect to testing, funds will go to “necessary expenses to research, develop, validate, manufacture, purchase, administer and expand capacity for COVID-19 tests.”
First, however, the bill must make its way through the House of Representatives and then on to the President. The House is expected to vote on the package Thursday.
4/19/20 Update: Congress close to agreement
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin stated he believes Congress will come to an agreement today on a new emergency funding bill that would fund small businesses and disaster loan programs.
Just three days ago, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ran out of funds for small businesses. Loan approvals were put on pause and the SBA stopped accepting new applications.
This caused major worry for business owners and also for their employees.
But since then, it seems like Congress is very close to agreeing on a new round of funding. If the agreement is reached today, the Senate could approve it tomorrow and the House could approve it on Tuesday, meaning that things could be back up and running mid-week. (But we all know how things typically go in Congress.)
If you are in need of funds, I would recommend that you apply as soon as possible because this round of funding will likely dry up very quickly just like the past one. You can start by finding a lender.
The bill will also have unprecedented funding for testing which is going to be vital for us re-opening the country back up.
I will update with more details as they emerge.
4/16/20: Original article
One of the most important stimulus programs that was put into place recently was the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
It authorized the distribution for $349 billion worth of loans to small businesses in order to keep the businesses alive and provide things like paychecks to employees. (Certain other types of expenses like rent were also authorized to be used by these loans.)
It was launched on April 3 and unfortunately it has just gone dry. That is, it has run out of money in less than two weeks.
The Treasury Department now will not be able to issue new loan approvals and is putting a pause on the program after it approved more than 1.6 million applications. The SBA has also halted accepting new applications.
Now, we are awaiting the future of the program to see if Congress can agree on a second round of funding.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has asked Congress for an additional $250 billion in emergency funds for the program but Democrats and Republicans have not been able to agree on exactly how the funding should be distributed. Shocker, I know.
According to the SBA, they have processed more than 14 years worth of loans in less than 14 days which is pretty insane.
But it is clear that this program is going to need more funding if it is to meet the demand of the many small businesses out there who are struggling and on the brink of shuttering.
The big issue right now is that Democrats want to add certain conditions to the funding such as offering more funds to hospitals and local governments and also add certain benefits like food stamps.
They also are reportedly trying to prioritize the funds going to certain demographics like businesses owned by women and minorities.
Meanwhile, Republicans want the funds to be sent out without any new additions or conditions.
I think it is becoming abundantly clear that there will need to be another round of stimulus funding that is very significant.
Not just for small businesses but also the government is talking about future stimulus checks to American citizens. These checks might go out on a recurring basis until the economy is back to normal which could be several months. They also might provide funds to some people who did not receive them this time around, such as young adults.
Either way, it is worth tracking these developments and if you are a small business, I would recommend acting as quickly as possible in the event that you need to apply for any type of emergency aid.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.