Shaheen, Chabot call for action on new round of PPP loans
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Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Overnight Defense: Pompeo pressed on move to pull troops from Germany | Panel abruptly scraps confirmation hearing | Trump meets family of slain soldier Shaheen, Chabot call for action on new round of PPP loans MORE (D-N.H.) and Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotHouse Republicans introduce legislation to give states 0 million for elections Bottom line The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks MORE (R-Ohio) on Thursday stressed the need for negotiators to strike a deal on the next round of coronavirus-relief funding to in order to protect small businesses hit hard by the pandemic.

Adding another round of funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has emerged as one of the few areas of bipartisan agreement amid talks between Democratic leaders and Trump administration officials. But if an extension deal is not reached, the PPP will stop granting loans on Aug. 8.

Speaking at The Hill’s virtual event on the future of small business, Chabot touted legislation from Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPentagon forming task force to investigate military UFO sightings How Congress could diminish the risks with Electoral College count The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance MORE (R-Fla.) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSusan Collins asks postmaster general to address delays of 'critically needed mail' Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Trump: GOP senators who don't embrace him will 'lose their elections' MORE (R-Maine) that would set aside nearly $200 billion in forgivable PPP loans, offering a new set of funds to businesses that missed out on the first round and a second loan to those that can prove their revenue has declined 50 percent or more due to the pandemic.

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Promoting greater outreach to businesses of color, many of which struggled to receive loans in the first round of funding, has also been a priority, Chabot said.

“A lot of the smallest of the small businesses, especially in minority and economically disadvantaged locations, they didn’t necessarily have a strong relationship with a bank or a credit union,” Chabot told The Hill’s Steve Clemons at the event sponsored by Wells Fargo. “So when it came to the PPP loans, they had a hard time. ...At this point, we’re making sure that’s taken care of.”

Shaheen said the Prioritized Paycheck Protection Program Act, a bill she co-sponsored and that has been introduced by Democrats in both chambers, would utilize small business development centers and minority resource center outreach to direct more capital toward minority-owned businesses.

She said the worsening state of the economy should have given lawmakers a greater sense of urgency to reach a deal on coronavirus relief.

“We need action in Congress, and it’s unfortunate that we’re sitting here at the end of July when we got a package of legislation from the House, the HEROES Act, back in May,” Shaheen said, referring to the $3 trillion package House Democrats passed more than two months ago. “[Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief agreement | Weekly jobless claims fall below 1 million for first time since March | Trump says no Post Office funding means Democrats 'can't have universal mail-in voting' Overnight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal MORE didn’t even take up the effort to get another package out of the Senate until last week. It’s been way too long. We’ve got too many people who need help.”

Chabot said as the ranking member of the Small Business Committee, he has been in conversations with Chairwoman Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOvernight Health Care: Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal | US records deadliest day of summer | Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal Federal agencies seize, dismantle cryptocurrency campaigns of major terrorist organizations MORE on oversight of the PPP program, so that if a new round of funding is passed, banks can avoid some of the problems that plagued the program in the spring, when major companies received funding and the application process proved challenging for firms that weren't well connected.

Chabot said the next round would be smoother.

“The balance is making sure there’s no waste fraud and abuse and the companies that were intended to get them get them,” Chabot said. “On the other hand, we don’t want to make them so burdensome and overregulated that it’s impossible to get the loans out the door in real time.”