The Senate yesterday passed another bill aimed at providing relief to those affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including more money for small businesses that did not get a chance to obtain funds the first time around.
The House of Representatives is expected to return to Capitol Hill tomorrow to vote on the legislation, which is expected to be signed by President Trump.
About $500 billion is being earmarked for additional relief efforts, including an additional $310 billion to refill the Payment Protection Program, which offers loans to small business, which may be forgiven if certain criteria are met.
About $75 billion will be dedicated to helping hospitals test individuals for COVID-19 and $25 billion is being earmarked to help states increase their testing capabilities. Additional testing is considered to be a key stepping stone toward re-opening much of the country that has been closed because of coronavirus concerns.
Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, said that this round of funding for the Payment Protection Program will likely be the last time that funds are allocated for the initiative. The $310 billion is expected to run out in about two weeks, similar to what occurred during the first round of applications.
One key provision to keep an eye out for, especially as Democrats “vow to revisit items” that have been left aside so far is a prohibition on debt collection activities. A number of Democrats, including Rep. Maxine Waters [D-Calif.]. the chair of the House Financial Services Committee, have tried to get the prohibitions included in coronavirus legislation, but have not yet had any success.
Republicans “have seen the light — we had a great victory for the American people,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said during a news conference at the Capitol after the vote. “But we certainly need to do more.”