Trump eyes additional funds for small businesses impacted by pandemic

Trump eyes additional funds for small businesses impacted by pandemic

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump fires intelligence community inspector general who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Trump organization has laid off over 1000 employees due to pandemic: report Trump invokes Defense Production Act to prevent export of surgical masks, gloves MORE said he would consider boosting the funds available to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus if the money allocated under the recently-passed $2.2 trillion relief package runs out.

“I will immediately ask Congress for more money to support small businesses under the #PPPloan if the allocated money runs out. So far, way ahead of schedule. @BankofAmerica & community banks are rocking!” Trump tweeted Saturday.

The most recent coronavirus relief package, which Trump signed into law last week, laid out a $349 billion program to help small businesses. However, banks, credit unions and other lenders warn that guidelines for the plan are unclear and could lead to trouble handling a crush of loan applications.

“The guidance was released hours before this program is set to begin and there are still a number of unanswered questions which will very likely complicate quick fulfillment of these critical loans,” Jim Nussle, president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association, a trade group for credit unions, told The Hill.

Hundreds of thousands of small and mid-sized firms are expected to compete for the funds made available under the relief package, raising the potential for a backlog for bank and credit unions that still have to vet, approve and process the applications. 

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who was instrumental in crafting the relief package, has sought to allay concerns over the amount of funds that are available, providing regular Twitter updates over the amount of money that has already been doled out. Mnuchin said Friday that over $1.8 billion has already been allocated by the Small Business Administration. 

However, skepticism remains over whether the fund will run smoothly enough to grapple with the burgeoning economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a poll Friday that found that 24 percent of small businesses say they will close permanently within two months or less due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.