Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the seat of the Senate Small Business Committee, advised the Wall Street Journal Sunday which Democrats and Republicans are “certainly closer” to a deal on expanding the Paycheck Protection Program than on a wider stimulus bill.
Rubio emphasized the importance of attaining a quick resolution on the problem, noting that ancient PPP borrowers are “beginning to, or saying, they will lay off workers.”
The Florida senator included, “Bottom line is if we don’t deal with it through PPP, we’re going to have to deal with it through the unemployment-insurance system,” that could further exacerbate discussions over unemployment insurance strained by Republican hand-wringing over price.
However compared with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows stating he’s “not optimistic” to a near-term general stimulation bargain, Rubio advised the Journal that a PPP deal is a lot closer to fruition than most other sides of the bundle.
“There are still some items to be worked out, but in general we’re certainly closer on PPP than we are, perhaps, on any other aspect of the overall situation,” he explained.
An aide to Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Rubio’s Democratic counterpart about the Small Business Committee, agreed, telling the Journal who “the two parties are in agreement on many PPP measures.”
The initial iteration of this PPP, a $670 billion business-rescue program spearheaded by Rubio, passed in March, the greatest and most expensive application of its type ever. However, the program has been met with criticism which range from overly-brief and stiff paying conditions to also many loans to big and midsize corporations not to enough funds to serve its intended function. Nonetheless, it’s widely regarded as having kept the economy afloat and unemployment amounts from sinking even lower compared to their already-historic nadir throughout the pandemic.
Rubio pointed to a number of facets of the recent PPP deal which are very likely to please Democrats that were critical of their very first iteration of this PPP for distributing a lot to what they believed undeservingly massive corporations rather than sufficient to smaller, minority-owned companies. “We put aside $25 billion especially for small companies with 10 workers or less [in PPP],” Rubio said, noting that “a large percentage of small businesses owned by minorities would fit in that category.”
$100 billion. Rubio added that an extra $100 billion program to supply cheap, long-term loans to fighting companies is targeted at “seasonal businesses who may have had their entire season wiped out, and at small businesses located in opportunity zones or other low-income census tracts.”
Things To Watch For
Considering reform from the Small Business Administration more widely, Rubio envisions a role for the agency in helping certain businesses adapt to satisfy the requirements of a post-pandemic market. “The SBA is due for reform and modernization. Our nation needs to rebuild its industrial capacity,” Rubio stated. “After the pandemic, there are a number of industries that will have to be creative about how to reinvent themselves… and the SBA potentially could be helpful in that regard.”
Disclosure: Forbes Media LLC supported on July 6, 2020 it obtained a Paycheck Protection Program loan of $5 million to $10 million on April 15.