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Bipartisan Stimulus Proposal Includes Additional Business Support

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled a proposal for the next stimulus package, which includes expanded PPP funding.

Bipartisan Stimulus Proposal Includes Additional Business Support

A bipartisan group of lawmakers announced a new stimulus relief package Tuesday, reviving hope of additional federal support to individuals and businesses suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $908 billion proposal is supported by House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and could include $288 billion for small businesses and the Paycheck Protection Program. While no legislative text is available, it could be finalized by this weekend.

The stimulus plan was originally unveiled by a group of lawmakers that included Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

“I am particularly pleased that this package includes funding for another round of Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans, which has helped keep our small businesses afloat,” Collins said in a statement. “In Maine alone, the PPP has helped sustain the jobs of 250,000 workers.”

Frozen since the presidential election, stimulus began to heat up on Nov. 17 when Pelosi and Schumer sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to work with Democrats on a new round of federal relief based on the $2.4 trillion HEROES Act, which McConnell rejected on Dec. 1—the same day lawmakers from both parties unveiled their smaller relief package.

 

The size of the HEROES Act stems mainly from the hundreds of billions requested for aid to states and local municipalities whose budgets have been slashed by the pandemic. However, McConnell has been firm in his support for a “targeted” relief bill. Tuesday’s proposal asks for $160 billion for state and tribal governments, down from the HEROES Act’s $500 billion ask.

McConnell has not released a statement on the current bipartisan proposal. The Senate leader will remain in control of the chamber and exert immense influence over the outcome of the next stimulus package. He will likely continue his leadership in the Senate despite two runoff elections in Georgia, which will be held on Jan. 5—weeks before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Republicans are favored to win those seats and maintain control of the Senate.

The HEROES Act has seen a resurgence in support since Biden’s victory in the presidential election. The president-elect has come out in support of the bill, but opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate makes it unlikely to pass in its current form.

Getting more aid to small and midsize businesses has taken on additional urgency after the Treasury announced on Nov. 19 that would be recalling the funds set aside for the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program at the end of the year.

Despite deploying only a fraction of its $522 billion largesse since its June launch, the MSLP was seen as an attractive alternative for companies that couldn’t qualify for PPP loans, including those backed by private equity firms.

Benjamin-Glick

Benjamin Glick is Middle Market Growth’s associate editor.