Jessica L. Jeane, J.D.
Director of Public Policy and Communications
October 11, 2020
Treasury and the White House are urging Congress to pass a stand-alone Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) bill as stimulus talks between the Trump administration and Democratic congressional leadership have stalled.
“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused [PPP] funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wrote in a Sunday, October 11 letter to Congress.
Currently, approximately $134 billion remains in available PPP funding, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). However, a senior GOP Senate aide told the National Society of Accountants on October 11 that it is “too soon to tell,” whether such a measure will prove successful.
The Trump administration’s weekend letter comes on the heels of stalled negotiations on Capitol Hill between the Trump administration and House and Senate Democratic leadership regarding another COVID-19 relief package. The negotiations “remain at an impasse,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on October 11. “[T]he Trump administration returned to the table with a proposal that attempted to address some of the concerns Democrats have in the coronavirus relief negotiations. This proposal amounted to one step forward, two steps back,” Pelosi wrote in a Saturday, October 10 “Dear Colleague” letter.
Currently, the Trump administration’s latest stimulus proposal reportedly sits around $1.8 trillion, while Pelosi’s latest slimmed down bill known as “HEROE’S Act 2”, cleared the House on October 1 clocking in around $2.2 trillion.
However, several Senate Republicans oppose both stimulus proposals, as Mnuchin and Meadows signaled in their Sunday letter. “It is not just about the top-line number but also about legislation that can be passed by both the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Trump to help the American people,” they wrote.
Looking ahead, it remains to be seen whether a stand-alone PPP bill will make it through Congress to the president’s desk before the November election. However, the Trump administration as well as several bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers continue to call for reopening and enhancing the small business loan program apart from a broader relief package. “The all-or-nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” Mnuchin and Meadows wrote.
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