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Mnuchin: Hardest-hit businesses should be able to get second PPP payment

Mnuchin: Hardest-hit businesses should be able to get second PPP payment
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Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinPence delivers coronavirus task force report to Biden Treasury imposes additional sanctions on Cuba over allegations of 'serious human rights abuse' Treasury Department sanctions inner circle of Russian agent Derkach for election interference MORE said Friday that he thinks the businesses hardest-hit by the coronavirus pandemic should be able to receive a second round of assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

“The administration supports using the existing money and topping it up with some additional money, and that will be discussed, and allowing for a second payment to the businesses that are especially hard-hit,” Mnuchin said at a House Small Business Committee hearing.

Under the PPP, small businesses received federal loans that can be forgiven if they are used to retain workers. About $130 billion of funds in the program remain available.

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The PPP was created by the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief legislation that President TrumpDonald TrumpIran's leader vows 'revenge,' posting an image resembling Trump Former Sanders spokesperson: Biden 'backing away' from 'populist offerings' Justice Dept. to probe sudden departure of US attorney in Atlanta after Trump criticism MORE signed into law on March 27 and was expanded in subsequent legislation.

Lawmakers and the administration are expected to ramp up discussions over another relief package next week.

Mnuchin said he thinks there should be a “revenue test” for businesses to receive a second payment to “make sure that money is going to businesses that have significant revenue declines.” He added that second payments should not be targeted to any specific industry.

Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) asked Mnuchin if he would support setting aside some PPP loan funds for small, minority-owned businesses. Mnuchin said there should be such a set-aside.

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Top GOP lawmaker touts 'more flexible' PPP loans in bipartisan proposal MORE (Ohio), noted that some businesses have found the loan-forgiveness process to be complicated and asked if it needs to be further simplified.

Mnuchin said that lawmakers and the administration should consider providing blanket forgiveness for the smallest loans, while ensuring there’s some type of safeguard to protect against fraud.