Donald Trump: Congress should boost Paycheck Protection Program by $250 billion

President Trump is calling on Congress to boost the small business Paycheck Protection Program by another $250 billion, to help keep Americans employed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The $350 billion payroll program for small businesses launched on Friday and has been “really popular” with companies, the president said at a White House press briefing Tuesday. There have already been hundreds of thousands of applications for the program, he said.

“The Paycheck Protection Program has been incredible,” Trump said.

The additional $250 billion will “help keep Americans employed to facilitate and full recovery,” Trump said as the coronavirus outbreak has wreaked havoc on the economy and caused massive unemployment numbers over the last two weeks.

Through the Paycheck Protection Program, a small business can use 75% of the loan to keep paying its employees and the other 25% to meet overhead, such as rent and utilities. The payroll protection is for eight weeks, and if the business keeps its employees on the payroll or rehires workers who have been laid off, the loan will be forgiven.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said more money is needed for the program, which has had a host of problems during its rollout.

Small business owners have complained that they’re unable to get through to the Small Business Administration or banks to apply for loans, or they’re being rejected by banks who say they’re only accepting applications from businesses that are already customers of the bank.

When asked if $600 billion in total will be enough for small businesses, Trump said, “We’re going to find out.”

“What I like is it keeps these companies together, these little companies,” he said. “Just like we’re going to help the airlines and the big companies, we’re going to help the little companies.”

Herald wire services were used in this report.

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