April 16 (UPI) — A $350 billion rescue fund set up last month to help small businesses weather the coronavirus crisis has run out of money, officials said Thursday.
The Small Business Administration said the Paycheck Protection Program is fully depleted, leaving Congress and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to find a way forward.
Mnuchin plans to meet Thursday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, as lawmakers have yet to agree on the next round of relief aid, known as “Stimulus 3.5.”
The Republicans support putting another $250 billion into the fund but Democrats say that’s not enough, arguing that hospitals and local governments need equal funding. Pelosi said the Republican bill can’t pass the House and Republicans are not confident a deal with Pelosi and Schumer would pass the Senate.
“State and local governments are desperate for resources,” Pelosi told CNN. “Hospitals, desperate for resources. That’s what we’re saying we need. Small businesses, state and local governments and hospitals, that is what the Senate [Democrats] put on the floor last week.”
Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called the Democratic demands “disgusting” and accused them of holding the process hostage. Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema called on her colleagues Thursday to pass funding for the program by unanimous consent.
Mnuchin did not mention a specific dollar amount when he urged lawmakers Wednesday to fill the program’s coffers again.
“We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program, at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks,” he said in a joint statement with Small Business Administration chief Jovita Carranza.