Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said he hopes to approve further funding Thursday to buoy small businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
"I will work with Secretary Mnuchin and Leader Schumer and hope to approve further funding for the Paycheck Protection Program by unanimous consent or voice vote during the next scheduled Senate session on Thursday," he said in a statement.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican and chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, flagged the news in a tweet moments before McConnell's statement.
Congress late last month approved a $350 billion small business loan program as part of a more than $2 trillion stimulus bill aimed at helping the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The program is aimed at helping small businesses that provide the engine of employment and entrepreneurship in the U. S. economy.
The small business measures aim to help companies cover payroll and other expenses during the punishing outbreak. Firms with fewer than 500 employees can use the money to cover salary, wages and benefits, with a maximum loan of $10 million or 250% of monthly payroll
Still, the initial rollout of the ambitious program faced challenges as banks hurried to prepare themselves to assist with the efforts. In the run-up to the program's launch this past Friday, banks and trade groups pushed for more clarity around the program and sought to manage expectations about how quickly they could dole out the funds.
This week, there were technical glitches with the system amid the flurry of demand. Some banks are still awaiting guidance from the Treasury on promissory notes clarifying the terms under which the loans are valid, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC. The Treasury did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Still, some banks viewed McConnell's announcement positively, believing it would reassure small business owners that the system would have enough money to cash their checks, even is it works through the technical issues, that person said.
Nonetheless, initial challenges may be a point of debate in any proposal to add to the program.
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