Senate approves $310B increase for Paycheck Protection Program

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Congress is working to refund the wildly popular—and quickly depleted—Paycheck Protection Program which provides forgivable loans to small businesses. 

But the program is also controversial. 

The Senate approved $310 billion more for the Paycheck Protection Program after the program used up $350 billion in loans intended to go to small businesses but research by Morgan Stanley shows more than half the money went to large corporations. 

“If you were a bigger company you could take one entity that had 200 employees and carve that out,” said Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV). 

Lee said that’s not what Congress intended. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the program was designed to save jobs. 

“You can make an argument that if my job is lost, the size of my employer doesn’t make any difference to me,” McConnell said. 

The House is expected to vote Thursday to approve the additional money for the program, which also sets aside $60 million for smaller community banks and credit unions to issue loans. Those loans are reserved for independent contractors and truly small businesses owned by minorities and veterans. 

But many small businesses will still be left out in the cold—like those that earn more than half of their revenue from gambling devices like video poker and slot machines. Lee said these businesses include “local taverns, local restaurants.” Lawmakers say there’s nothing in the stimulus bill that prevents gambling businesses from accessing the loans; rather, the SBA chose to exclude them based on an old rule. 

Lawmakers from gambling state like Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and Mississippi want to deal those businesses a better hand in the near future. 

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