Senate Approves New $484 Billion Relief Package
The Senate approved a new relief package worth roughly $484 billion. The bulk of the package will go towards funding the now depleted loan program for distressed small businesses. It will also provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus testing.
The measure came after an intense round of negotiations that took place as the small-business loan program created by the initial $2.2 trillion stimulus package quickly ran out of funds. Some banks have already been sued over the handling of the loans for the Paycheck Protection Program. They are accused of favoring businesses that requested larger loans in order to earn more in fees. The program also came under fire for giving millions to companies with market values well in excess of $100 million, including DMC Global, Wave Life Sciences and Fiesta Restaurant Group.
The new bill provides an additional $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program. The package also includes $60 billion in disaster relief loans and grants, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion to boost coronavirus testing. The bill directs $60 billion in PPP funding to be dedicated to small lenders and community-based financial institutions “to serve the needs of unbanked and underserved small businesses and nonprofits”.
More money could still be on the way. Lawmakers are contemplate spending another $1 trillion or more on yet another sweeping government response to the pandemic.