After small businesses left more than $140 billion in the expanded 'PPP' program tank (underlining how the Democrats' calls for a $3 trillion stimulus package was a calculated, political tactic), the Senate on Wednesday voted to pass a bill allowing for more flexibility in how companies spend their money.
The bill was the product of a bipartisan deal that finally cleared the hurdle after Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin finally relented on several changes.
One jackass. One stupid jackass in the Senate is what's preventing the #PPP band-aid from being put on right this moment. So instead, we've got to bleed and wait for another at least few days. You 100 idiots have one purpose on this planet right now. Pass this bill. #TaxTwitter— Adam Markowitz (@adammarkowitzEA) June 3, 2020
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York had asked for unanimous consent to pass the legislation earlier on Wednesday, but Johnson objected at the time.
"I'm not disagreeing with the fact that we have to do something. I want to do something as well. I just want to make sure that if we do put more money into this thing it's not going to be flowing to businesses that don't need it...We've been working in good faith with the sponsors of the House bill, with Republican leadership. I reached out to Democrat leaders saying we're very close. I think we'll probably be able to pass the House bill with assurances, by unanimous consent, just not at this moment."
The bill purports to respond to complaints from actual small business owners, and changes the thresholds for how much of the program's relief money can be spent on payroll, as well as the qualifications for a loan to transition into a grant.
The House overwhelmingly approved the bipartisan bill, which would give small businesses 24 weeks to use the emergency loans, and permits them to spend as low as 60% instead of the loans on payroll, down from 75%.
Senate clears bill to give small business owners more flexibility in dealing with their PPP loans. Ron Johnson had blocked bill earlier bc he wanted assurances of changes at a later time. A deal has been cut and Senate now sends bill - which House approved 417-1 - to Trump’s desk— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 3, 2020
Trump is expected to sign the bill.
It's just the latest reminder that while the stock market is chugging along, small businesses are largely still figuring out how they're going to keep the lights on for the next few months until things start to go back to normal.