Mnuchin, Pow­ell back job­less aid and small busi­ness loans

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - BUSINESS -

WASH­ING­TON » Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin and Fed­eral Re­serve Chair­man Jerome Pow­ell said Thurs­day that the gov­ern­ment’s top pri­or­i­ties in any new eco­nomic re­lief pack­age should be to pro­vide af­ford­able loans to small busi­nesses and fur­ther sup­port for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who re­main un­em­ployed.

With the prospects for any new fed­eral aid pack­age ap­pear­ing dim, mem­bers of the Se­nate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee pressed both of­fi­cials to list im­prove­ments that could be quickly made in the nearly $3 tril­lion in sup­port that Congress has passed to fight the pan­demic-in­duced re­ces­sion that’s left nearly 11 mil­lion peo­ple still job­less.

Democrats on the panel urged Mnuchin, one of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s top ne­go­tia­tors, to work harder to per­suade Repub­li­cans in Congress to raise the amount of money they would be will­ing to sup­port in a new bill. And Repub­li­cans urged Demo­cratic mem­bers to con­sider a lower amount that might clear both the House and Se­nate with Elec­tion Day less than six weeks away.

Mnuchin agreed that busi­ness loans and en­hanced un­em­ploy­ment sup­port would be good pri­or­i­ties for Congress to back in any new pack­age.

Pressed to state what the top pri­or­i­ties should be, Pow­ell said it would be to pro­vide more sup­port through the popular Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram for small busi­nesses, and to boost un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits. The PPP still con­tains around $130 bil­lion that had not been al­lo­cated when au­tho­riza­tion for the pro­gram ex­pired.

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