U.S. Senate Approves Additional $483 Billion for Covid-19 Response
Including for Paycheck Protection Program for ‘hardest-hit’ Small Businesses, Resident Commissioner says
SAN JUAN – The U.S. Senate unanimously approved $483 billion in additional Covid-19 response funding, including for the Paycheck Protection Program established under the CARES Act. The fourth coronavirus emergency aid package now goes to the House for passage.
The new aid to offset the business disruption-wake left by measures to prevent spread of thedisease is meant to help small businesses and health providers.
President Trump tweeted his support, pledging to sign it into law, despite opposition from conservative Republicans, the Associated Press reports.
“Our small businesses have been, without question, the hardest hit economically by the national emergency caused by COVID-19. From the beginning, we sought to give relief to them and, for my part, to include Puerto Rico in it. The new Payroll Protection Program (PPP) proved to be the right resource. Although it was devised as a one-time program, everyone in the federal capital agreed that it should be extended since the funds were exhausted, and many applications are pending,” Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner in Washington, D.C., Jenniffer González Colón, said in a statement earlier Tuesday.
“This is the aid that reaches our small businesses most directly and therefore maintains the payroll of thousands of employees in Puerto Rico. I urge you to submit your documentation to your preferred bank or cooperative on time, starting now; as soon as the funds are approved, our banking sector will be able to process them,” the House representative added.
Most of the funding, $331 billion, would go to boost the small-business payroll loan program that ran out of money last week. An additional $75 billion would be given to hospitals, and $25 billion would be spent to boost testing for the virus, “a key step in building the confidence required to reopen state economies,” wrote the AP, which obtained a copy of the measure.