A $475 billion addition to the CARES Act includes a proposed infusion of cash into a program to help small businesses keep their employees on the payroll amid interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bipartisan agreement in the Senate on Tuesday came after much debate over the past two weeks on how to add money to the Paycheck Protection Program administered by the Small Business Administration. The first round of $349 billion for interest-free or low-interest loans ran out last week.
The new funding also includes $50 billion more for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans, an additional $10 billion in SBA grants, $75 billion more to fund hospitals and healthcare providers, $25 billion for state-led COVID-19 testing plans and for research, development and other testing support from the Centers for Disease Prevention Control, the National Institute of Health and other agencies.
The package now must be approved by the House. Republican and Democrat leaders said they hope to send a final bill to President Trump this week.
Curt Macysyn, executive director for the National School Transportation Association, told School Transportation News that the House will take up the bill for a vote on Thursday. First, the House Rules Committee meets on Wednesday to consider whether they will approve proxy voting to avoid all Members returning to Washington, D.C.
“[The Treasury Department] doesn’t expect the PPP amount will run out in two days, as some have reported, and hope this will be enough to last the remainder of the program being open,” he explained in an email. “No changes made to the Coronavirus Relief Fund for state and local governments.”
Editor’s note—The latest version of this article adds comments from the National School Transportation Association, which lobbies for the interests of school bus contractors that operate across the U.S.
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