President Donald Trump today signed the $480 billion coronavirus funding bill, pumping an additional $320 billion into the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that had run out of money more than a week ago. The action came after the House of Representatives today gave final congressional approval to the bill in a 388-5 vote.
The bill provides $310 billion for low-interest loans to small businesses to help them meet expenses and keep employees on the payroll even though they may not be open or have any revenue coming in. The measure includes an additional $60 million for disaster loans, which also had been exhausted, $75 billion for hospitals, and $25 billion for additional testing.
Run by the Small Business Administration, PPP provided $342 billion in low-interest loans to more than 1.6 million small businesses in about three weeks before it ran out of money. An estimated 1 million small businesses that did not get their applications approved in time are desperately hoping for the additional funding to help them survive the pandemic.
The bill was a result of at times contentious negotiations between the White House, the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratically controlled House of Representatives.
Even with the bill’s signing, many government leaders are indicating additional funding bills may be needed. States have asked for $500 billion collectively to make up for lost revenue caused by business closures and restrictions. Others, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have expressed concern about the rapidly mounting federal debt from the coronavirus spending.