WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating another round of small business loans to help keep them afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sen. Democrat Doug Jones (D-AL) met “virtually” Tuesday with minority business owners in his state to find out what they need as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
“I want to make sure that we are doing all that we can to help,” Jones said.
But the federal loan program designed to help them survive the pandemic stopped taking new applications this past weekend. More than $100 billion was left unclaimed.
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) said business still need help.
“I’d like to see that reprogrammed to help those companies that still need a little help rounding out the back end of this virus,” Perdue said.
Perdue said business owners who already got a Paycheck Protection Program loan are asking for another one to get by.
Right now, the program doesn’t allow applicants to double-dip. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to change that.
Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is one of them. He said businesses that need a second loan should get one.
Another Florida Republican, Congressman Ross Spano, said he would support reopening the program to continue helping small businesses and give local chambers of commerce access to PPP funds.
Minority business owners like Dean Gordon in Birmingham, Alabama, said this is also the moment to look ahead.
“This is the time now for us to start leading the way again,” Gordon, the president of TechBirmingham said.
Gordon said investing in small minority business startups will help boost the struggling economy when the country reopens.
Congressional Startup Day is Wednesday, Aug. 12. It’s a day meant to “highlight the importance of startup activity in the U.S.”